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  • Twins Minor League Report (6/15): Duran, Balazovic Deliver Contrasting Performances


    Steve Lein

    There were big time prospects on the mound at each of the upper levels of the Minnesota Twins system on Tuesday night, and another in the lowest level who may be giving them a run for their money so far in the 2021 season. It did not go remotely well for one of those top prospects however, while the other added to their legend.

    Image courtesy of of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge (photo of Aaron Whitefield and Jose Miranda)

    To find out all about those pitching performances and how the rest of your favorite Twins prospects fared in their games on Tuesday night, keep reading!

    TRANSACTIONS

    • RHP Yennier Cano was promoted to the St. Paul Saints along with RHP Shaun Anderson being sent on a rehab assignment
    • IF Will Holland was activated from the injured list for the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels.

    SAINTS SENTINEL
    Iowa 3, St. Paul 1
    Box Score

    Those in attendance in St. Paul on Tuesday night were surely excited to watch top Twins pitching prospect Jhoan Duran take the mound. But they did not get to see much of him. That is because Duran was not able to find his control and was lifted from the game before escaping even the first inning. He threw 35 pitches in the inning, with just 15 of them going for strikes. In 2/3 of an inning, Duran was charged with two runs on two hits and three walks.

    Left-hander Bryan Sammons came on as sort of a piggy-backer, and flipped it around a bit for the Saints for the next 5 1/3, allowing just one run on a solo-homer while working around four walks. He struck out two. Shaun Anderson and Robinson Leyer combined to keep the Cubs off the board over the final three innings.

    The Saints offense was not able to muster much offense until the eighth inning, when they were able to string together two of their four hits and two of their three walks on the game to score one. The Saints actually outhit the cubs 4-3 on the game but weren’t able to overcome the initial struggles of Duran in the first inning.

    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Springfield 4, Wichita 13
    Box Score

    The Wind Surge used an endless barrage of hits, both the big and small variety, to pummel the Cardinals on Tuesday. Six hitters in their lineup had multiple hits on the day, four collected multiple RBI, and they got home runs from Jose Miranda, Caleb Hamilton, Andrew Bechtold, and Ernie De La Trinidad on the game. They put up crooked numbers in each of the first, third, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings on their way to the 13-4 win. Miranda's home run led off the game for home team, then Hamilton and Bechtold followed with theirs for the first three runs of the game, and omen for how the rest of it would unfold.

     

    In addition to the bats bludgeoning Springfield pitchers, Wichita starter Jordan Balazovic did the same to their lineup. As it was just his third start so far on the season, Balazovic is still very much on a pitch count, but did complete 4 1/3 innings, his longest outing so far.  He struck out two in the first, the side in the third, two more in the fourth, and the lone batter he faced in the fifth to account for his 8 K's on the night. Of his 74 pitches, 47 went for strikes (64%) with nine of the swing and miss variety. He held the Cardinals to just two hits and a walk in the outing.



    Calvin Faucher was the first reliever summoned and he went the next 1 1/3 innings. He completed the snapper mow-em-down inning with two K's of his own in the fifth, but then ran into some trouble in the sixth. In all he allowed three runs on three hits (including two home runs) and a walk, while striking out three. Jhonleider Salinas came one with two outs in the sixth and walked a pair of batters to load the bases, but got a fly out to end any further threat. Hector Lujan then went the next two innings, allowing a solo home run, but struck out three. Alex Phillips finished the game for the Wind Surge with a scoreless ninth, allowing one hit and striking out two.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    South Bend 9, Cedar Rapids 4
    Box Score

    Kernel’s starter Kody Funderburk retired the first six hitters he faced in this one, including three via strikeout, but it went a much different way in the third inning. When it was all said and done Funderburk would be charged with eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings pitched. He allowed those runs six hits and two walks and Cedar Rapids would be unable to recover.

    The offense did manage to score single runs in four different innings, but never got a big hit or inning together to close the gap. Seth Gray was 2-for-5 with two RBI. Max Smith hit a solo blast and finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Gabriel Maciel was 2-for-4 with a run scored.

    Reliever Melvi Acosta picked up the pieces in the third and finished 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out two. Zach Featherstone and Tyler Watson combined for four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk between them, while striking out seven. Shortstop Daniel Ozoria then got in on the action to finish the game for the Kernels, striking out one in a one-two-three ninth.


    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Lakeland 2, Fort Myers 1
    Box Score

    It was a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel at Hammond Stadium Tuesday night with both starters and bullpens trading zeroes for the first nine innings.

    For the Mighty Mussels it was Louie Varland on the bump to start and he was once again great, lowering his ERA on the season to 1.99. He went the first 5 2/3 innings, scattering three hits and two walks along with striking out seven. Matthew Swain got the home team through the eighth inning with 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed one hit, walked one, and struck out three. Osiris German pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out two, and was back out for the tenth with a runner starting on second base. A sac bunt put the go-ahead run 90 feet away, but German buckled down and struck out the next two hitters to give his home team a chance in the bottom half.

    After a sacrifice bunt and two intentional walks to load the bases, Aaron Sabato stepped into the batter’s box, and swung at the first pitch he saw, grounding into an inning-ending double play.

    Juan Pichardo was summoned for the 11th inning but had some trouble locating the strike zone. After a fielder’s choice got the runner out at third, a hit batter and two consecutive walks scored the first run of the game. The Flying Tigers added a sac fly and headed to the bottom of the inning up 2-0. Fort Myers was able to score one a Misael Urbina RBI single, but that would be all.

    The teams combined to go just 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position and left 17 men on base for the game. Yunior Severino (2-for-5) and Urbina (3-for-5, RBI, K) had the bulk of Fort Myers’ seven hits on the game, Will Holland added a double. Edouard Julien drew three walks out of the leadoff spot (one intentional in the 10th) and his on-base percentage for the season is still near .500.

    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Balazovic, Wichita Wind Surge (4 1/3 IP, 2 H, BB, 8 K)
    Hitter of the Day – Jose Miranda, Wichita Wind Surge (3-for-6, R, HR, 3 RBI, K)

    PROSPECT SUMMARY

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

    #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – 2-for-3
    #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL)
    #3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – 0-for-3, 2 K
    #4 - Ryan Jeffers (Minnesota) – Did not play
    #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB
    #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 4 1/3 IP, 2 H, BB, 8 K
    #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – Injured List (concussion)
    #8 - Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4, R, BB, 3 K
    #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch
    #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery)
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – Did not play
    #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 0-for-3, RBI, BB, K
    #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (wrist sprain)
    #14 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 3-for-5, RBI, K
    #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch
    #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow)
    #17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – 0-for-3, K
    #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A
    #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 3-for-6, R, HR, 3 RBI, K
    #20 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – Did not pitch

    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – RHP Chandler Shepherd (1-2, 8.10 ERA)
    Springfield @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) – RHP Austin Schulfer (1-3, 5.28 ERA)
    South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Jon Olsen (0-3, 4.91 ERA)
    Lakeland @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) – RHP Sean Mooney (0-1, 0.57 ERA)

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

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    Steve:  Although a rough night for Saint Paul, CR and Fort Myers, I'm pleased to report that I was able to witness the Wind Surge's 13-4 thumping of Springfield tonight at a VERY warm Riverfront Stadium in Wichita.  First of all, for any fans considering making the trip to Wichita, its definitely worth the time.  The ballpark is spectacular!  As many might know, Riverfront Stadium was built with intention of being the Miami Marlins AAA team in 2020.  Whoever designed this ballpark did a tremendous job.  Not a bad seat anywhere in the park.  As with most minor league teams at AA level, box seats (we sat 15 rows directly being Wind Surge dugout) were very affordable....only $15.00 each if bought in advance.  Ballpark offers great variety of amenities----from food and beverage to a very nice (and affordable) team store.  As for the game, you have to take into account Springfield----especially their pitching staff is very comparable to a team that got dominated by that future Cy Young winner, Chris Flexen,  Anyway, Springfield, by no accident is a BAD team....now 12-24 overall.  Saying that, they do have some solid prospects----namely Nolan Gorman...#3 overall prospect, who hit 3 HRs in a game last night.  Came away VERY IMPRESSED with the performance of Balazovic tonight.  Only criticique I'd offer is Balazovic needs to get more efficient with his command/pitch count.  4.1 IP with 8 Ks, only 1 walk and 2 singles and 0 ER allowed puts him on track, imo, for a late season call up and a strong chance to start 2022 season in Twins rotation.  Although Miranda's lead off HR was nice to see, I was more impressed with his ability to drive in 2 additional runs with solid singles..on 2 strike counts...in 2 of his later ABs that produced 2 RBI.  With a .315 avg and an excellent OPS of .927, I'd expect a promotion to Saint Paul should be coming for Miranda within the next month.  Looking forward to seeing Game #2 tomorrow night with Cole Sands on the bump for the Surge.

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    4 hours ago, Twinfan603 said:

    When did Enlow get hurt? I seem to have missed that news...does he need to go on the 40-man roster after this season to be protected from the Rule 5?

    Yes, Enlow will be Rule 5 eligible this winter if he’s not placed on the 40-man roster.

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    We have plenty of deadwood on the 40 man so saving Enlow should be easy.  Who to keep is the question.  I enjoy these summaries and hope the young players can push their way on to the Twins roster and we stop picking up the flotsam that we seem to specialize in at FA time.   Go Balazovic!

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    7 hours ago, darwin22 said:

    Steve:  Although a rough night for Saint Paul, CR and Fort Myers, I'm pleased to report that I was able to witness the Wind Surge's 13-4 thumping of Springfield tonight at a VERY warm Riverfront Stadium in Wichita.  First of all, for any fans considering making the trip to Wichita, its definitely worth the time.  The ballpark is spectacular!  As many might know, Riverfront Stadium was built with intention of being the Miami Marlins AAA team in 2020.  Whoever designed this ballpark did a tremendous job.  Not a bad seat anywhere in the park.  As with most minor league teams at AA level, box seats (we sat 15 rows directly being Wind Surge dugout) were very affordable....only $15.00 each if bought in advance.  Ballpark offers great variety of amenities----from food and beverage to a very nice (and affordable) team store.  As for the game, you have to take into account Springfield----especially their pitching staff is very comparable to a team that got dominated by that future Cy Young winner, Chris Flexen,  Anyway, Springfield, by no accident is a BAD team....now 12-24 overall.  Saying that, they do have some solid prospects----namely Nolan Gorman...#3 overall prospect, who hit 3 HRs in a game last night.  Came away VERY IMPRESSED with the performance of Balazovic tonight.  Only criticique I'd offer is Balazovic needs to get more efficient with his command/pitch count.  4.1 IP with 8 Ks, only 1 walk and 2 singles and 0 ER allowed puts him on track, imo, for a late season call up and a strong chance to start 2022 season in Twins rotation.  Although Miranda's lead off HR was nice to see, I was more impressed with his ability to drive in 2 additional runs with solid singles..on 2 strike counts...in 2 of his later ABs that produced 2 RBI.  With a .315 avg and an excellent OPS of .927, I'd expect a promotion to Saint Paul should be coming for Miranda within the next month.  Looking forward to seeing Game #2 tomorrow night with Cole Sands on the bump for the Surge.

    Awesome that you got to see the game! It is definitely a trip I'd like to make in the future.

    Miranda has definitely taken steps forward that you want to see this year (plate discipline), and the results are following. He will definitely get a bump soon keeping this up.

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    Watched Balazovic for the first few innings.  Just has the look of a top of the line MLB starter.  Will take another year, but should join the Twins mid-season 2022.  Expect there will be lots of openings next year.

    Also really liked what I saw of Miranda.  I guess Javier was due for an 0 for after a nice string of games.  Hopefully, he will get back on the hitting track tonight so his good streak won't return to the sub .200 we have seen the last few years.

    After reading questions here about the 2019 draft and Fort Myers pitching, took a look at their roster while watching the game last night.  I think I counted 7 pitchers on their roster who were drafted in 2019.  Or was it 9?

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    Have to say I was bummed by Duran's outing.  If the gameday box is correct the ump was doing him no favors with close pitches down in the zone and the other team was not swinging.  I know he hasn't pitched much and has plenty of time to turn things around but with outings like this I do worry he looks more like a reliever than starter.

    Like Darwin22 I am a little concerned the reason some of the hitters in Wichita are doing so well is that Springfield doesn't have the best pitching staff and this will be their second time facing them.  Still hitters have to hit so don't want to take too much away from them but it does concern me a little.  Right now the pitching and lineup appears to be the best in the system at AA.  If Miranda hits just as well at AAA where are Twins going to find room for him at the MLB level?

    Varland with another nice game and was saved by the pen as well.  He looks like he has the velocity and pitches to be pretty good. Will know more once he gets to High A and the competition there will be better. Some interesting arms in A again with Varland, Mooney and Gipson-Long.  Hopefully they do well once they move up.

     

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    33 minutes ago, Dman said:

    If Miranda hits just as well at AAA where are Twins going to find room for him at the MLB level?

    If players keep dropping like flies to injury, he should have ample opportunity.  Donaldson being out for a month with a calf is a good bet over the next season and a half.  Add in Arraez' knee, Polanco's ankle and Gordon's belly, and I'm pretty sure he'll get a chance.

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    10 minutes ago, MMMordabito said:

    If players keep dropping like flies to injury, he should have ample opportunity.  Donaldson being out for a month with a calf is a good bet over the next season and a half.  Add in Arraez' knee, Polanco's ankle and Gordon's belly, and I'm pretty sure he'll get a chance.

    Lol have to say I agree whole heartedly with your analysis. 😎

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    6 hours ago, Twinfan603 said:

    When did Enlow get hurt? I seem to have missed that news...does he need to go on the 40-man roster after this season to be protected from the Rule 5?

     

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    From everything I have seen and read, I am much higher on Balazovic, than I am on Duran.  Duran has the velo but cannot control it.  Balazovic seems much more of a pitcher that will get outs, where Duran is a thrower and yet to learn how to pitch. 

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    I'm still bummed about Enlow. Hope he can come back strong.

    All I want for Balazovic is health and innings right now. I'm confident in his talent, just want him to stay healthy the whole years and build up some innings. It's a lost year for the Twins, so no need to rush or push him, just get him ready to compete in spring training next year with Duran and if he's ready, great. If he needs a little more time in AAA, that'll be fine too. He could be great.

    Huzzah for Jose Miranda. I hope he keeps rolling all year. Not worried about finding a place for him in the next year or two: if he really is this kind of hitter, you can always find room for that guy, and that's the problem I want to have.

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    7 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

    I'm still bummed about Enlow. Hope he can come back strong.

    All I want for Balazovic is health and innings right now. I'm confident in his talent, just want him to stay healthy the whole years and build up some innings. It's a lost year for the Twins, so no need to rush or push him, just get him ready to compete in spring training next year with Duran and if he's ready, great. If he needs a little more time in AAA, that'll be fine too. He could be great.

    Huzzah for Jose Miranda. I hope he keeps rolling all year. Not worried about finding a place for him in the next year or two: if he really is this kind of hitter, you can always find room for that guy, and that's the problem I want to have.

    If he's not in MN this year, it is likely he won't start in MN next year either. That means they'll need to find another bad pitcher to fill that slot. Three of their starters will be FAs this year (1-2 hopefully DFAd soon). I doubt anyone thinks Dobnak is the answer. Ober? Probably a back end starter at best. If he's not up in MN this year, I think you can kiss 2022 goodbye. Unless people think the Twins will sign / trade for 2-3 good to very good starters next year.....

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    3 minutes ago, Danchat said:

    Good to see Cano get promoted. Let’s see what he can do in AAA and see if he’s worth giving an audition in August/September.

    If he's good for a month, I'd not even wait until August. He's no spring chicken. But yes, very good to see that promotion.

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    Let's says Twins start unloading players that will be FAs next year. In return they get great prospects but they are still at lower levels of MiLB. If a position player like Cruz or Simmons gets traded, who on AAA roster would you be excited about getting a spot on 40 man roster? I don't really see anyone. My point is Twins should move up some of the players that are having success at AA.

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    1 hour ago, 4twinsJA said:

    Let's says Twins start unloading players that will be FAs next year. In return they get great prospects but they are still at lower levels of MiLB. If a position player like Cruz or Simmons gets traded, who on AAA roster would you be excited about getting a spot on 40 man roster? I don't really see anyone. My point is Twins should move up some of the players that are having success at AA.

    I would imagine the Twins are feeling pressure to do this very thing, but are being careful not to over-react.  

    With it being a given that next year's team will have a lot of new faces, they should worry less about over-reacting.  Baldelli likes to talk to the press about how he makes decisions based on what he thinks is coming in the future.  Now is his chance to do that with a purpose.  It is rare that the road ahead is as clear as it is now.

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    5 hours ago, Trov said:

    From everything I have seen and read, I am much higher on Balazovic, than I am on Duran.  Duran has the velo but cannot control it.  Balazovic seems much more of a pitcher that will get outs, where Duran is a thrower and yet to learn how to pitch. 

    1.) I think most are thinking that Balazovic is more likely to remain a starter, but 

    2.) Duran has always had pretty decent control. Struggled so far this year, but he's still just like 4 starts into his return from injury. Not worried about Duran. 

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