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  • Minor League Report (8/22): Wichita Bats Surge, Buck Go Boom


    Nash Walker

    The Wind Surge had a tremendous week, taking five out of six from Springfield on the road. The Mussels also thrived offensively while the Kernels and Saints had trouble tacking on. Let's get you caught up on a busy day for the system!

    TRANSACTIONS
    RHP Luke Farrell added to St.Paul Saints (ML rehab)
    LHP Kody Funderburk activated to Wichita from injured list 
    LHP Adam Rozek promoted to Cedar Rapids

    SAINTS SENTINEL
    Iowa 5, Saints 2
    Box Score
    Drew Strotman: 4 IP, 7 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    HR: Byron Buxton (3)
    Multi-hit games: Tomás Telís (2-for-5, 2B)

    Drew Strotman made his fifth start as a Saint and his second straight against the Iowa Cubs. Strotman worked around seven hits and a couple walks, allowing two runs in four innings. He threw 81 pitches and 44 for strikes (54%). 

    Byron Buxton hit a mammoth, 445-foot homer to left in his first at-bat. It was a vintage Buck bomb:

    The Saints trailed 2-1 until David Banuelos scored on an error in the seventh. Yennier Cano and Luke Farrell combined for three scoreless innings and six strikeouts out of the bullpen. Unfortunately, Robinson Leyer and Nick Vincent allowed a run, and the Cubs took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth. 

    The Saints are now a half-game back of Toledo for first place in the Triple-A East Midwest. They would probably like to keep Buxton for a few more games. 

    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wind Surge 11, Cardinals 7
    Box Score
    Chris Vallimont: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    HR: Trey Cabbage (14)
    Multi-hit games: Austin Martin (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R), BJ Boyd (3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R), Cabbage (3-for-4, HR, 6 RBI, BB)

    The Surge kept it rolling offensively in Sunday’s barrage. BJ Boyd continued his torrid stretch with three more hits and a double. Trey Cabbage also stayed hot and homered. Austin Martin also drove in a run with a double. 

    Chris Vallimont started for Wichita and allowed five runs on five hits and two homers. Vallimont has allowed 28 runs over his last 26 innings. One culprit: he’s given up seven homers over his last six starts. 

    The Surge took five out of six from Springfield and are now in first place by five games over Tulsa in the Double-A Central. 

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Wisconsin 6, Kernels 2
    Box Score
    Ryan Shreve: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: Matt Wallner (2-for-4, BB), Jeferson Morales (2-for-3, 2B, R)

    The Kernels had trouble keeping their offense going Sunday. Wander Javier got things started with an RBI single in the first before Jeferson Morales scored on a wild pitch in the second. Cedar Rapids took a quick 2-0 lead, protected by Ryan Shreve. 

    Unfortunately, that was all for the bats. Wisconsin scored six straight runs on two homers and three RBI singles. The Kernels struck out 17 times and mustered only seven hits in the loss. 

    The Kernels still boast a 53-43 record and sit in second place in the High-A Central, albeit ten games behind the powerhouse Quad Cities River Bandits. 


    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 10, Dunedin 5
    Box Score
    Bobby Milacki: IP, 2 H, R/ER, BB, K
    HR: Patrick Winkel (1)

    Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (2-for-6, RBI), Keoni Cavaco (3-for-6, R), Jesús Feliz (3-for-5, 2 R, BB), Winkel (3-for-4, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB), Willie Joe Garry Jr. (2-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI), Kyler Fedko (2-for-4, RBI, BB)

    The Mussels recorded 15 hits in Sunday’s thrilling win. Dunedin held a 5-4 lead in the eighth before Willie Joe Garry Jr. busted things open with a bases-clearing double. Garry Jr. drove in four from the seven spot in the lineup, while Patrick Winkel plated four of his own from the six spot.

    The Mussels walked nine times and went 6-for-17 with runners in scoring position, taking advantage of baserunners with good at-bats. Winkel walked twice with the bases loaded, contributing to his big day. 

    Juan Pichardo pitched two scoreless innings in relief, allowing the Mussels to stick around late. Fort Myers is enjoying the spark from their new primary leadoff man Alerick Soularie. Drafted in the second round in 2020, Soularie missed the first half of the season with an injury. 

    Steven Cruz was also outstanding in relief, striking out five over three scoreless innings. 


    COMPLEX CHRONICLES
    THE FCL TWINS DON’T PLAY ON SUNDAY

     

    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day- Steven Cruz: 3 IP, H, R, 0 ER, BB, 5 K
    Hitter of the Day- Trey Cabbage: 3-for-4, HR, 6 RBI, BB

     

    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Our most recent (post deadline and draft) prospect rankings are up! Check them out here.

    #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Injured List (ACL)
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI
    #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 (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
    #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List 
    #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch
    #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 3-for-6, R
    #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (shoulder)
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, BB
    #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, 2B, 2 BB
    #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 4 IP, 7 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    #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) - 0-for-4, 2 BB
    #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Did not play

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    Buxton needs to be on an airplane to Boston tomorrow. There is zero reason for him to swing another bat in St. Paul. He can be evaluated for his reaction to playing on Sunday when he works out Tuesday afternoon. If he is fine he is in the lineup on Tuesday night, if he he needs anther two days let him sit in the dugout to prepare for Thursday. Byron Buxton playing another game rehabbing in MILB is bull****. It is reasonable to check how he feels after swinging the bat and checking everything out on Tuesday, in Boston. Move forward.

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    3 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

    Buxton needs to be on an airplane to Boston tomorrow. There is zero reason for him to swing another bat in St. Paul. He can be evaluated for his reaction to playing on Sunday when he works out Tuesday afternoon. If he is fine he is in the lineup on Tuesday night, if he he needs anther two days let him sit in the dugout to prepare for Thursday. Byron Buxton playing another game rehabbing in MILB is bull****. It is reasonable to check how he feels after swinging the bat and checking everything out on Tuesday, in Boston. Move forward.

    Buxton's assignment to AAA probably has less to do with how he feels swinging a bat and more to do with whether or not he has his timing down. Having Buxton flail hopelessly away at MLB pitching doesn't do him or the Twins any favors because Buxton's peformance impacts his arbitration value making the Twins look like they intentionally wanted Buxton to play poorly. If you watched the game, how did his timing on his other trips to the plate look? (legitimately asking)

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    6 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    Buxton's assignment to AAA probably has less to do with how he feels swinging a bat and more to do with whether or not he has his timing down. Having Buxton flail hopelessly away at MLB pitching doesn't do him or the Twins any favors because Buxton's peformance impacts his arbitration value making the Twins look like they intentionally wanted Buxton to play poorly. If you watched the game, how did his timing on his other trips to the plate look? (legitimately asking)

    Watched the game yesterday and Friday night.  Friday night, didn't think he looked great.  Sunday, got the right pitch in his first at bat and whacked it hard and long.  May have been the second at bat, he looked more like Friday night, ie, not all that comfortable.

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    I know people rave about Vallimont's stuff.  But he is so inconsistent with way too many games like yesterday where that 'stuff' doesn't equate to success in the game.  I know some believe he should be added to the 40-man come November, I just don't see it.

    See that Severino was 0-5 yesterday.  Looked up his stats at Cedar Rapids.  In 89 at bats, he has a .455 OBP.  Granted, 89 at bats is still a small sample, but not for much longer.  Also good seeing Wallner get two hits yesterday as he has had quite a few hitless games of late.  I know Soularie has only 46 at bats, but 6 walks and 10 strikeouts is an early indication that this kid may have some real potential.  Although Cavaco's numbers this year aren't video game like, he is hitting so much better than his first year in the GCL two years ago.  Good to see this young man taking a step forward.  Hopefully, we will see another step next year and beyond.

     

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    8 minutes ago, roger said:

    I know people rave about Vallimont's stuff.  But he is so inconsistent with way too many games like yesterday where that 'stuff' doesn't equate to success in the game.  I know some believe he should be added to the 40-man come November, I just don't see it.

    See that Severino was 0-5 yesterday.  Looked up his stats at Cedar Rapids.  In 89 at bats, he has a .455 OBP.  Granted, 89 at bats is still a small sample, but not for much longer.  Also good seeing Wallner get two hits yesterday as he has had quite a few hitless games of late.  I know Soularie has only 46 at bats, but 6 walks and 10 strikeouts is an early indication that this kid may have some real potential.  Although Cavaco's numbers this year aren't video game like, he is hitting so much better than his first year in the GCL two years ago.  Good to see this young man taking a step forward.  Hopefully, we will see another step next year and beyond.

     

    Some nice observations there, thanks!  I agree with Vallimont it seems they have him throwing more strikes but he is giving up way too many hits.  He won't be a 40 man add and honestly I can't see another team putting him on their 40 man roster he would be a disaster at the MLB level.  With his WHIP they should be working him more as a reliever IMO.  I guess they can give him one more year as a starter but I think his stuff will play as a reliever hard to know at this point.

    Severino is going to be a close call for being a 40 man add.  Will he be next years Baddoo?  Hard to say but HIgh A to the majors is a very big jump.  Not sure he is quite that good but I could see a team checking him out via rule V to see if he can stick.

    I think we all are interested in what Soularie brings to the table.  So far he has come pretty much as advertised lets hope he escapes the injury bug and keeps that hit tool in prime shape.

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    18 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    Strotman did not look good - add the hits and the walks and his WHIP was terrible.  He is not looking like a quick fix for MLB, so let's hope Ryan continues to deliver. 

    Yeah his WHIP since joining the Twins has not been good.  I am hoping part of it is just the innings load after Covid.  He is one of a handful of Twins pitchers that look like he is going to make through the season without getting injured or shut down early. Part of the reason he was included in the deal is that he likely wasn't going to make the 40 man cut for Tampa next year.  I still think the Twins keep him on their's but have to believe next year would be a prove it or lose it type situation.  He has a 4 pitch mix hopefully the Twins coaches can get him to the next level.

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    3 minutes ago, Dman said:

    Yeah his WHIP since joining the Twins has not been good.  I am hoping part of it is just the innings load after Covid.  He is one of a handful of Twins pitchers that look like he is going to make through the season without getting injured or shut down early. Part of the reason he was included in the deal is that he likely wasn't going to make the 40 man cut for Tampa next year.  I still think the Twins keep him on their's but have to believe next year would be a prove it or lose it type situation.  He has a 4 pitch mix hopefully the Twins coaches can get him to the next level.

    Strotman has an extended pre-Twins history of not being able to throw strikes. I think the Twins already won th trade with just Ryan so there must have been a huge amount of interest in Cruz. Strotman hasn't put up BB/9 numbers lower than 3.4 since his time in Low-A in 2017. Over full seasons, not lower than 4.5 since A ball in 2018. I consider Strotman a throw in at the end of the trade negotiations.

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    Austin Martin continues to get on base at a ridiculous pace. Still mostly just singles, but I expect the power growth to happen in the off-season when he a) gets fully healthy, and b) has time to re-work his swing and approach a bit with the coaching staff. Still feels like a very fine professional debut to me, especially for a guy who didn't get any time in the low minors, but got thrown in at AA right away. Since coming to Wichita, he's got almost the same number of walks and Ks, and that's awfully fun.

    I can't decide if I want Wallner to get pushed up faster or him to get left in place to work on cutting down the Ks. He's having a nice enough season: solid BA, good OBP, very good power but the K's are worrisome. He's played well enough overall for his level to earn a promotion, but would that K rate get exploited at AA? Where's the best place for him to work on getting that to a manageable level?

    (every time I talk about Wallner I feel like I should talk about the other high draft slugger: Sabato. Who was so bad early that even after the recent power surge he's still got brutal numbers. Still has a SLG below his OBP. There's a reason he's not a top 20 prospect any longer, and it has little to do with the trades bringing in guys above him. Oof.)

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    1 hour ago, bean5302 said:

    Strotman has an extended pre-Twins history of not being able to throw strikes. I think the Twins already won th trade with just Ryan so there must have been a huge amount of interest in Cruz. Strotman hasn't put up BB/9 numbers lower than 3.4 since his time in Low-A in 2017. Over full seasons, not lower than 4.5 since A ball in 2018. I consider Strotman a throw in at the end of the trade negotiations.

    Man you are the all knowing one when it comes to stats and I almost always like your takes.  I am basically going off of where he was placed in various top 30 lists and he has been in the middle on most of them so there may be something there what that is I do not know because I haven't seen it yet.  What is your thought about keeping him on the 40 man?

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    13 minutes ago, Dman said:

    Man you are the all knowing one when it comes to stats and I almost always like your takes.  I am basically going off of where he was placed in various top 30 lists and he has been in the middle on most of them so there may be something there what that is I do not know because I haven't seen it yet.  What is your thought about keeping him on the 40 man?

    I am most certainly NOT all knowing LOL. Baseball Reference and Fangraphs are usually where I look and my opinions are rarely based on watching players because I don't trust my eyes at all. There are a lot of members on this site who scout players way more in person and they see much more than I do. Stats don't always tell everything, but I think they're helpful in avoiding emotional bias.

    When we got Strotman and Ryan, it looked like an absolute fleecing of arguably the best FO in MLB, and that's a red flag right away. I immediately started looking into peripherals and saw Strotman's ERA was an illustion at Tampa's AAA affiliate, but Ryan looks like the real deal to me. His BB, K and WHIP rates look like they'll play. 

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    2 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    Strotman has an extended pre-Twins history of not being able to throw strikes. I think the Twins already won th trade with just Ryan so there must have been a huge amount of interest in Cruz. Strotman hasn't put up BB/9 numbers lower than 3.4 since his time in Low-A in 2017. Over full seasons, not lower than 4.5 since A ball in 2018. I consider Strotman a throw in at the end of the trade negotiations.

    Strotman had very good control before TJ surgery in 2018, came back in the second half of 2019, then missed 2020. I’m not worried about his control, he just needs reps. His scouting report shows 60 command. 

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    Vallimont and Strotman are not getting it done as starters. Strotman needs more time and Vallimont is most likely a reliever. In my latest rankings I put Strotman in the 20s and Vallimont in the 40s, which so far seems justified.

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    26 minutes ago, Cornholio said:

    Strotman had very good control before TJ surgery in 2018, came back in the second half of 2019, then missed 2020. I’m not worried about his control, he just needs reps. His scouting report shows 60 command. 

    Strotman entered 2018 as a borderline top 20 organizational prospect for Tampa and averaged 3.5 BB/9 vs. 8.4 K/9 in Regular-A ball in that 2018 season. That's not very good, but it's certainly possible to show a big rebound from something like that. It's just that Strotman hasn't rebounded. He's continued to have high walk rates year after year. You can blame it on innings and the UCL not feeling 100% "normal" in 2019, but it's pretty hard to buy that this year. Strotman has improved his walk rate a lot with the Saints, but it looks like it's coming at the cost of strikeouts and hits. Even with the Saints, Strotman's overally BB/9 is still 3.8, and that's likely to balloon against must better MLB hitters.

    Fangraphs and MLB have Strotman's command at 45 and 50, respectively. 

    It's not like there's no hope for Strotman, but he owns a WHIP of 1.47 on the season in AAA and it's gotten worse since he seems to have concentrated on reducing his walks.

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