To find out everything that happened with your favorite Twins prospects on MiLB opening day, keep reading!
- The Minnesota Twins recalled infielder Nick Gordon to take the place of Luis Arraez who was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list.
- LHP Lachlan Wells was assigned to the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
St. Paul 2, Omaha 8
The Saints debut as a major league and Twins affiliate didn’t quite go to plan, but count me as one who is super excited they are in the fold instead of an independent.
Starter Andrew Albers went the first four innings but was touched up for a single run in three of them, and four in the other as the Saints fell behind 7-0 while he was on the mound. He allowed eight hits total and struck out six. Glenn Sparkman came on for the fifth and allowed a solo home run, Omaha’s fourth of the game, but struck out five in his two innings. Lefty Andrew Vasquez came on for the seventh and flummoxed Omaha hitters with his slider that the broadcaster compared to “those wiffle ball pitches you see in your backyard.” He went 1-2-3 in both his innings, striking out three.
Saints hitters were also flummoxed by Storm Chasers pitching throughout the game, striking out 15 times and collecting only five hits and two walks. Zander Wiel and Ryan Jeffers led the way with two hits apiece, and Jeffers delivered the first two runs as an affiliate for St. Paul with a two-run homer in the seventh.
WIND SURGE WISDOM
Wichita 2, Springfield 0
Another new affiliate for the Twins, Wichita got their season off on the right foot defeating the Springfield Cardinals 2-0. It's fun for me to see this matchup at Hammons Field in Springfield, MO as it is one of the MiLB stadiums I have had the pleasure of attending, and reminds me of their parent club’s Busch Stadium in mini form.
As for this game, it was a pitcher’s duel throughout with the teams trading zeroes until the top of the eighth, when the Wind Surge struck for two runs. Singles from Damek Tomscha and Jose Miranda started the inning, then Mark Contreras and Andrew Bechtold finished it with consecutive RBI singles with two outs to account for the scoring.
Josh Winder made the start for Wichita and went the first 4 2/3’s, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six. He threw 81 pitches with 57 of them going for strikes (70.4%), including 14 swinging strikes. Left-hander Jovani Moran got the last out of the fifth with a K, then struck out two more in a scoreless sixth. Sidewinder Tom Hackimer was next out of the bullpen and added two more scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out three. International signing out of Cuba in 2019, Yennier Cano, came on for the ninth and bookended a single with a pair of strikeouts to close out the victory.
Aaron Whitefield, batting ninth, led the Wind Surge offense with two hits including a double and a stolen base. Contreras finished 1-for-2 with a pair of walks in addition to the RBI. Gilberto Celestino led off the game with a single and finished 1-for-5.
Peoria 0, Cedar Rapids 7
In the Kernels first game as a high-A affiliate, they got the job done on opening night in convincing fashion. They chased Chiefs starter Ian Bedell from the game before he could complete one inning, scoring three runs on four hits and a walk in the opening frame. They would add two more in the second and one each in the third and fourth innings to jump out to a 7-0 lead that was more than enough.
Kernels pitchers cruised throughout the game, allowing just three hits to Peoria hitters and scattering five walks. Kody Funderburk made the start and went the first three innings, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Andrew Cabezas went the next four innings and picked up the win, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Melvi Acosta finished the game with two scoreless frames, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two.
Leadoff man Spencer Steer (2-for-4, 2 R, BB, SB) was the only Kernels batter with multiple hits, while Matt Wallner, Jair Camargo, and Seth Gray each clubbed a double. Gabe Snyder had an RBI triple in the first and was hit by a pitch twice. While the lineup had just seven hits, they also drew eight walks.
Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 3
Newly minted as the Twins low-A affiliate and renamed the Mighty Mussels before last year’s MiLB season was cancelled, Fort Myers opened their new era with a 6-3 win over Bradenton.
Willie Joe Garry Jr. got the scoring started three pitches into the game, launching a home run to right-center for the early 1-0 lead.
Fort Myers would leave the bases loaded without adding another run in the opening frame and from there until the seventh inning the pitchers were the story. Mussels starter Regi Grace went 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six. Though he struck out the first two hitters of the fifth, he was lifted as his pitch count reached its limit at 75. He was relieved by Louie Varland who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul, and he would finish the game’s final 4 1/3 with some eye-popping numbers. He gave up two earned runs on two hits and a walk among his 16 batters faced, but struck out TEN(!) of them. The runs given up came on a two-run home run that gave the Marauders a 3-2 lead after seven, but the bats would pick him up in the ninth to give him the win.
Will Holland led off the top of the ninth with a double and a few walks (one intentional to Garry Jr.) around a strikeout kept the bases loaded for the bulk of it. The first two runs would score on wild pitches, then with two outs Edouard Julien delivered the finishing blow with a two-run single.
Garry Jr. (1-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Holland (1-for-3, 2B, 2 R, BB), Keoni Cavaco (1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB), and Julien (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) led the way for the offense in the win. Aaron Sabato was 0-for-5 with 3 K’s in his minor league debut.
TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, 10 K)
Hitter of the Day – Ryan Jeffers, St. Paul Saints (2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K)
Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
#1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – Did not play
#2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL)
#3 - Trevor Larnach (St. Paul) – 0-for-3, BB, K
#4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K
#5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch
#6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back)
#7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB
#8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 0-for-5, 3 K
#9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch
#10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch
#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 1-for-5, 2 K
#12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 0-for-4, 3 K
#13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5, R, 2B, K
#14 - Misael Urbina (Complex) – N/A
#15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch
#16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow)
#17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – Did not play
#18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A
#19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, R, BB
#20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – Did not pitch
WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
St. Paul @ Omaha (12:05PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes
Wichita @ Springfield (6:35PM CST) – TBD
Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Ben Gross
Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) – RHP Casey Legumina
Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!