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  • Twins Minor League Report (7/20): Prospects Shine On Friday Night


    Seth Stohs

    For a couple of months, the Cedar Rapids Kernels were the team with the Twins top three prospects. With promotions, the Twins top three prospects (Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Graterol) are all now with the Ft. Myers Miracle, and all three played a major role in Friday night’s Miracle win. As Nick wrote days ago, All Eyes are in Ft. Myers, though Miguel Sano was a big part of that story. Miguel Sano returned from the Dominican and was promoted to Rochester to continue his work.

     

    It was a full, fun night in the Twins minor league organization.Bailey Ober continued his remarkable run. Jose Miranda continued to rake and provide big hits for the Kernels. Brent Rooker went back-to-back in a couple of ways in the Chattanooga game. The teammate who homered ahead of him, homered late in the game to put it out of reach. Ervin Santana made what may be his final rehab appearance for the Red Wings. And let the discussion begin… Who will start for the Twins on Monday in Toronto? Littell? Mejia? Gonsalves?

    Image courtesy of William Parmeter (photo of Royce Lewis)

    Keep reading to find out more on the night in the Twins minor league system on Friday. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions.

     

    TRANSACTIONS

    • Fernando Romero was optioned by the Twins on Sunday, before the All- Star Game. On Friday, they announced that infielder Taylor Motter will take his spot on the roster.
    • Miguel Sano has returned from the Dominican Republic and has been moved up to Rochester to continue his work.
    • Ryan Eades was placed on the Chattanooga disabled list.
    • LHP Bryan Sammons was promoted from Cedar Rapids to Ft. Myers.
    • RHP Derek Molina was promoted from Elizabethton to Cedar Rapids.

    RED WINGS REPORT

    Rochester 2, Norfolk 7

    Box Score

     

    Ervin Santana is getting close. Dan Hayes noted that the plan for this start was for him to work six innings or 90 pitches. Well, the right-hander went six innings and only needed 66 pitches. He gave up just one run on two hits. One of the hits was a solo home off the bat of Mike Yastrzemski. He walked three and struck out one.

     

    Luke Bard came on and was able to record just two outs. He was charged with five runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batter. He did strike out one. Jake Reed came on and gave up one run on three hits over the final 2 1/3 innings.

     

    Juan Graterol led the offense. He went 3-for-4 with his third Red Wings double. Gregorio Petit went 1-for-2 and walked three times. Alex Perez came into the game having gone 0-for-4 over his first two Red Wings games. In this one, he went 3-for-5. Edgar Corcino added his second Rochester home run.

     

    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER

    Chattanooga 9, Mobile 2

    Box Score

     

    When you look at the final score, it might be hard to believe that this was a 3-2 ball game entering the eighth inning. The Lookouts responded with a six-run eighth inning to make it a laugher.

     

    Zander Wiel led the way. He got the Lookouts going with his fifth home run of the year. The next batter, Brent Rooker, followed with his 17th home run of the season. Wiel had the big blow of the eighth inning too as he knocked a grand slam to put the game out of reach. It was his sixth homer of the year and gave him five RBIs in this game. Brian Navarreto had the big hit in the eighth frame. His two-run double gave the Lookouts a 5-2 lead before the grand slam.

     

    Paco Rodriguez, a reliever, made his second start of the week. He worked a scoreless first inning. Sean Poppen then came in and gave up just one run over the next 5 1/3 innings. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out four. Todd Van Steensel came on and recorded just one out. He walked two batters. Of his 14 pitches, just three of them were strikes. Williams Ramirez came on and allowed two of three inherited runners to score before getting the final out. Ryne Harper came on and threw two zeroes on the board.

     

    Wiel continues his impressive, breakout season. He went 2-for-5 with his fifth and sixth homers and five RBI. Brent Rooker went 1-for-3 with two walks and his 17th home run. Mitchell Kranson went 2-for-4 with a walk and his third and fourth Lookout doubles. Jordan Gore went 1-for-2 with two walks.

     

     

    MIRACLE MATTERS

    Ft. Myers 11, Lakeland 6

    Box Score

     

    The Miracle fell behind 4-0 after three innings,but a seven-run fourth was followed with a four-run fifth, and the Miracle came away with a nice win. Of course, the Twins top three prospects were very much involved in this game.

     

    Fair to say that Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff have adjusted well to the Florida State League and on this night both contributed mightily. Brusdar Graterol started and gave up four runs in the first three innings, but he gave up only those four runs over his six innings on the night. He gave up five hits, walked three and struck out seven. Colton Davis gave up an unearned run in his two innings, and Alex Robinson finished the ninth by giving up a run on a couple of hits.

     

    Having already scored four in their half of the fourth inning, a new pitcher was brought in and Royce Lewis greeted him with his first Miracle home run, a three-run shot. In the following inning, Lewis’s two-run single was the big hit. Lewis went 2-for-5 in the game with the home run and five RBIs.

     

    https://twitter.com/MattLessig/status/1020462492789637121

     

    Alex Kirilloff went 2-for-5 with his seventh and eighth doubles with the Miracle. Taylor Grzelakowski was 3-for-5 with his 15th double. Ben Rortvedt went 2-for-4 with a walk and drove in two runs.

     

    Here’s another view of the Lewis home run…

     

    https://twitter.com/teejbaseball/status/1020464129814007808

     

     

    KERNELS NUGGETS

    Cedar Rapids 1, Great Lakes 0

    Box Score

     

    Bailey Ober has been almost unhittable of late. The tall right-hander had another terrific, dominant start on Friday night. He threw eight scoreless innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out 12. Over his past three starts, he has gone a combined 21 2/3 innings and struck out 34 while walking just two batters. He’s also given up just one run over that time.

     

    Ricky Ramirez came on for the final inning. He recorded his first Kernels save by striking out two batters in a perfect inning.

     

    The Kernels didn’t put together a lot of offense. In fact, they had just four hits. In the top of the eighth, Jose Miranda doubled to score Michael Davis and give the game its only run. Miranda went 2-for-3 and the double was his 21st of the season

     

     

    E-TWINS E-TALK

    Elizabethton 9, Greeneville 11

    Box Score

     

    What a tough way to lose a game!! Down by two going into the bottom of the ninth, the first two hitters for Elizabethton reached base. Greeneville made a pitching change, and with Alex Robles at the plate - already with three hits - and a 2-0 count when the rains came down. Players were pulled off the field, and they never returned. What could have been? We’ll never know, but I wouldn’t put anything past this Twins offense.

     

    They had big days from a lot of players. Yeltsin Encarnacion made his second appearance in an E-Twins lineup, and he went 4-for-5 with a walk and a double out of the second spot in the lineup. Ryan Jeffers went 3-for-5 with a walk. Alex Robles went 3-for-5. Trevor Larnach was 2-for-4 with two walks and two RBIs. Trevor Casanova had two hits, including his eighth double. Slugger Chris Williams went 0-for-1, but he walked five times ahead of Larnach.

     

    The E-Twins fell behind very early. Carlos Suniaga started and recorded just two outs. He gave up six runs (five earned) on four hits. He walked three and struck out one. Blair Lakso came on and threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings to continue an impressive streak for him. He walked three and struck out four. Juan Gamez was charged with four runs on six hits and four walks over his three innings. He struck three out. Tanner Howell worked the final two innings and gave up one run on two hits and a walk. He struck out two.

     

     

    https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1020474701695643648

     

     

    GCL TWINS TALK

    GCL Twins 4, GCL Red Sox 3

    Box Score

     

    Landon Leach made the start and the right-hander gave up three runs on four hits over 3 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four. Denny Bentley came on and got the next four outs. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out one. Tyler Benninghoff worked a perfect inning in relief. Dylan Stowell struck out three over three hitless innings. He walked two.

     

    Victor Tademo had two of the Twins’ seven hits. He also stole his second base. Erick Rivera drove in two runs with his first professional double. Rivera is the youngest player on the GCL Twins’ roster. He wont turn 18 until mid-November.

     

    https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1018225977237876736

     

     

    STARS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Hitter of the Day: Zander Wiel, Chattanooga Lookouts (2-5, 2 HR(6), 5 RBIs)

    Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day: Bailey Ober, Cedar Rapids Kernels (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 K)

     

    PROSPECT SUMMARY

    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed. Please note that this prospect summary has been updated.

     

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, HR(1), 5 RBI, R, 2 K

     

    In case you needed one more, here is Alex Kirilloff’s dad’s video of Lewis’s first FSL home run. He kept it rolling long enough to show the Lewis/Kirilloff home run shake-dance-thing.

     

    https://twitter.com/kirilloff19/status/1020467871779106817

     

    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, 2-2B(8), R, K

    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Ft. Myers) - 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 7 K, (82 pitches, 49 strikes)

    #4 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 0-5

    #5 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Did not pitch.

    #6 - Trevor Larnach (Elizabethton) - 2-4, 2 BB, 2 RBI, K

    #7 - Brent Rooker (Chattanooga) - 1-3, 2 BB, HR(17), R, RBI, K

    #8 - Akil Baddoo (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, K

    #9 -Wander Javier - out of for the season

    #10 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Did not pitch.

    #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch.

    #12 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 0-3, 2 BB

    #13 - Travis Blankenhorn (Ft. Myers) - 0-4, BB, R, 2 K

    #14 - Lewis Thorpe (Chattanooga) - Did not pitch.

    #15 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - 2-4, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI, K

    #16 - Yunior Severino (Elizabethton) - 1-4, 2 BB, 2 R

    #17 - Lewin Diaz (Ft. Myers) - Did not play.

    #18 - Ryan Jeffers (Elizabethton) - 3-5, BB, R, RBI, K

    #19 - Jacob Pearson (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, K

    #20 - Luis Arraez (Chattanooga) - 0-3, BB, K, RBI

    #21 - Jose Miranda (Cedar Rapids) - 2-3, BB, 2B(21), RBI

    *I figured that since Wander Javier is out, I’d add #21 to the list.

     

     

    SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Norfolk @ Rochester (5:05 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero (2-1, 2.04 ERA)

    Chattanooga @ Mobile (7:05 CST) - LHP Dietrich Enns (0-4, 6.00 ERA)

    Lakeland @ Ft.. Myers (5:00 CST) - RHP Andro Cutura (3-4, 4.28 ERA)

    Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (6:05 CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (1-2, 3.49 ERA)

    Princeton @ Elizabethton (5:00 CST) - TBD

    GCL Twins @ GCL Red Sox (9:00 am CST) - TBD

     

    Please feel free to ask any questions about Friday’s games, or ask any questions you may have.

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    How far does Jeffers jump at seasons end if he keeps this up?

     

    In prospect rankings? Probably not a lot, maybe a few spaces. No one is surprised that he's hitting well at E-Town. Defense is his question mark and that won't be answered in the short-season. Also, lots of great talent ahead of him still. 

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    In prospect rankings? Probably not a lot, maybe a few spaces. No one is surprised that he's hitting well at E-Town. Defense is his question mark and that won't be answered in the short-season. Also, lots of great talent ahead of him still.

     

    Speaking of prospects/suspects not in the Twins top 20... where might Bailey Ober be @ season's end? The K/BB ratio and strike to ball efficiency are outstanding of late. How many 9 inning A Ball games time out like Cedar Rapids did tonight at 2:18? If Ober can sustain this to successive levels.... Sign me up.

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    Speaking of prospects/suspects not in the Twins top 20... where might Bailey Ober be @ season's end? The K/BB ratio and strike to ball efficiency are outstanding of late. How many 9 inning A Ball games time out like Cedar Rapids did tonight at 2:18? If Ober can sustain this to successive levels.... S0ign me up.

    I agree. 6' 8" 215 lbs...Great strikeout to inning ratio. Already had TJ surgery and most importantly, his college coach said, "He's a great kid. He's why you get into coaching." I'm really excited about his future. He grew up 30 miles from where I live. 

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    And let the discussion begin… Who will start for the Twins on Monday in Toronto? Littell? Mejia? Gonsalves?

    Hmmm... Littell is scheduled Sunday. It is Mejia's turn on Monday, but they are on a 6 man rotation schedule so Gonsalves (turn on Tuesday) could actually go on Monday with 4 days rest. Not sure they would want to do that for his debut, though.

     

    Is it confirmed that Berrios isn't going until Tuesday? Otherwise maybe they could do Berrios on Monday and Ervin on short rest Tuesday (although maybe coming off 66 pitches is too much).

     

    I guess my prediction would be Mejia, and they might drop him for Ervin afterward, barring a trade or injury. They could insert Ervin as soon as Wednesday if they wanted.

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    I think Ober is very underrated right now. He doesn’t show up on a lot (if any) prospect lists yet as of the last month and a half has been one of if not the best starting pitchers in our minor league system. He got off to a rough start but since then has become great.

     

    I wonder if Landon Leach will ever make it for the Twins. He was drafted last year and still really struggles against GCL batters. I would expect him to be a bit more dominant given his previous experience in the GCL.

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    I agree. 6' 8" 215 lbs...Great strikeout to inning ratio. Already had TJ surgery and most importantly, his college coach said, "He's a great kid. He's why you get into coaching." I'm really excited about his future. He grew up 30 miles from where I live.

    Have you seen him before or know what his pitch mix is?

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    Had a question while reading this, Seth.  How long has it been for you doing this?

     

    Ober got me looking at the Cedar Rapids box score.  He's having a decent season with a spectacular run these last three games.  But something about Miranda caught my eye.  Was a bit surprised about how little he is striking out...13% on the season and only twice in the last ten games (5%).  

     

    As you said, Zander Wiel is having a break out season.  He and Rooker are both looking like players who could (should?) have a future in the major leagues.  One problem with that.  They both are somewhat limited to first base/DH.  Don't see the Twins having room for both of them.  Wiel will have to be added to the 40-man this year or at risk in the Rule 5 draft.  Not so for Rooker.  Do you see Wiel being lost if the Twins don't add him, Seth?

     

    Finally, Seth, do you see any of the three studs in Fort Myers making it to the Twins by September, 2019? 

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    Did miss Alex Perez getting bumped up to Rochester...his third level of play this season!

     

    I was watching a AAA game in spring training, and a Twins official was standing by me. I said to him that I loved watching  Alex Perez approach a plate appearance. Such a professional hitter. Not a big guy, so no power, but knows and controls the strike zone so well. Very good defender at the two middle infield positions too.

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    Speaking of prospects/suspects not in the Twins top 20... where might Bailey Ober be @ season's end? The K/BB ratio and strike to ball efficiency are outstanding of late. How many 9 inning A Ball games time out like Cedar Rapids did tonight at 2:18? If Ober can sustain this to successive levels.... Sign me up.

     

    He could move up a bunch. If healthy, he's always been good. What makes him so intriguing to me is that he was the national pitcher of the year his freshman year at the College of Charleston. But then there was Tommy John surgery and he struggled to come back and fought a few other injuries since then. Even this spring, he hyper-extended his knee doing some PFP work. But when healthy, he's 6-8 and has really good stuff... So yeah, I can see him bumping up into the Top 30 or so. 

     

    Here's the story I did on Ober in the offseason. 

     

    http://twinsdaily.com/_/minnesota-twins-news/minnesota-twins-minor-leagues/get-to-know-twins-rhp-prospect-bailey-ober-r6363

     

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    What's up with Paco Rodriguez starting two of the last three games and pitching one inning?  Is he being used as an "opener"?

     

    I may have to do some digging. I don't know that I get  the whole concept. I looked at the Mobile lineup and their first three hitters were right-handed Rodriguez is left-handed, so they weren't trying to get a matchup advantage in doing it.

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    I think Ober is very underrated right now. He doesn’t show up on a lot (if any) prospect lists yet as of the last month and a half has been one of if not the best starting pitchers in our minor league system. He got off to a rough start but since then has become great.

    I wonder if Landon Leach will ever make it for the Twins. He was drafted last year and still really struggles against GCL batters. I would expect him to be a bit more dominant given his previous experience in the GCL.

     

    Ober will climb. No doubt.

     

    Leach will be fine. Dude throws really hard and has secondary pitches. But, they drafted him knowing he was a big arm that they needed to show a lot of patience with. He's very raw. He's only been pitching for about two years now. He had always been a catcher. So, no surprise he's moving slowly and no surprise he's found some struggles. 

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    He could move up a bunch. If healthy, he's always been good. What makes him so intriguing to me is that he was the national pitcher of the year his freshman year at the College of Charleston. But then there was Tommy John surgery and he struggled to come back and fought a few other injuries since then. Even this spring, he hyper-extended his knee doing some PFP work. But when healthy, he's 6-8 and has really good stuff... So yeah, I can see him bumping up into the Top 30 or so.

     

    Here's the story I did on Ober in the offseason.

     

    http://twinsdaily.com/_/minnesota-twins-news/minnesota-twins-minor-leagues/get-to-know-twins-rhp-prospect-bailey-ober-r6363

    I reading the article on Ober I get the sense he is really comparable to Tyler Wells. Both are 6’8”, have easy repeatable deliveries which leads to great control given their size, and have literally the same pitching arsenal with the same results.
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    Had a question while reading this, Seth.  How long has it been for you doing this?

     

    Ober got me looking at the Cedar Rapids box score.  He's having a decent season with a spectacular run these last three games.  But something about Miranda caught my eye.  Was a bit surprised about how little he is striking out...13% on the season and only twice in the last ten games (5%).  

     

    As you said, Zander Wiel is having a break out season.  He and Rooker are both looking like players who could (should?) have a future in the major leagues.  One problem with that.  They both are somewhat limited to first base/DH.  Don't see the Twins having room for both of them.  Wiel will have to be added to the 40-man this year or at risk in the Rule 5 draft.  Not so for Rooker.  Do you see Wiel being lost if the Twins don't add him, Seth?

     

    Finally, Seth, do you see any of the three studs in Fort Myers making it to the Twins by September, 2019? 

     

    Blogging started in May of 2003 (so yes, pre-Mauer)... focus on the minor leagues probably more 12-13 years ago. 

     

    Miranda has been tremendous since May 19. In 58 games since then, he's hitting .324/.366/.516 (.882) with 17 doubles, a triple and eight homers. 13 walks, but just 27 strikeouts (9%). 

     

    Wiel is all about hitting. He's had a really nice year, but as it relates to the 40-man roster, I just don't think he's the type of player that typically needs to be added or gets taken. For him, his value is offense, and he just hasn't demonstrated a lot of power yet the way Rooker has. Wiel is a guy who might be able to play in the big leagues and be a solid player, so I guess if the  right team wanted, he could  be taken. 

     

    May sound strange, but Graterol could be the first of the group called up, maybe as early as mid-2019. Lewis and Kirilloff could be too, but obviously that depends on things like the Dozier situation, Nick Gordon/Jorge Polanco play and how they may determine how much they want to rush Lewis. Obviously the Twins ave their Rosario/Buxton/Kepler trio in the outfield, and Jake Cave has made an impression and LaMonte Wade and Zack Granite are at AAA. Rooker could get some corner outfield time. So again, the Twins shouldn't feel like they need to rush Kirilloff either.

     

    That said, IF the Twins are in playoff contention and they feel those guys can help them get to the playoffs, then I think there is a chance for any of them depending upon need. If the Twins aren't in contention, then there is no reason to push them up. 

     

    Of course, if they continue to dominate all the way up and force their way into the lineup/rotation, they'll make room. 

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    Of course, if they continue to dominate all the way up and force their way into the lineup/rotation, they'll make room. 

    Remember when the Brewers brought up Robin Yount when he was 18.  Went on to have a nice 20 year career with the Brew Crew.  If I recall, he was a high 1st round pick, but not #1 overall. 

     

    So it has happened before.  Wouldn't it be nice if the Twins could get lucky with a pick like that and have history repeat itself...hey, both are shortstops!

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    I think Ober is very underrated right now. He doesn’t show up on a lot (if any) prospect lists yet as of the last month and a half has been one of if not the best starting pitchers in our minor league system. He got off to a rough start but since then has become great.

    I wonder if Landon Leach will ever make it for the Twins. He was drafted last year and still really struggles against GCL batters. I would expect him to be a bit more dominant given his previous experience in the GCL.

    Wanna know what's really weird? Both those guys you mentioned were born on the same day, July 12. But Ober was born in 1995 and Leach in 1999.

     

    I reading the article on Ober I get the sense he is really comparable to Tyler Wells. Both are 6’8”, have easy repeatable deliveries which leads to great control given their size, and have literally the same pitching arsenal with the same results.

    The biggest thing is there's about 50 pounds of weight difference between those two. Tyler looks like a football player and Bailey looks like he belongs on a basketball court, but you're right, they both look very comfortable on a pitcher's mound, especially for dudes their size.

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    I may have to do some digging. I don't know that I get  the whole concept. I looked at the Mobile lineup and their first three hitters were right-handed Rodriguez is left-handed, so they weren't trying to get a matchup advantage in doing it.

    Perhaps a stat-o-matic glimpse at the future of utilizing pitching staffs?

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    Wanna know what's really weird? Both those guys you mentioned were born on the same day, July 12. But Ober was born in 1995 and Leach in 1999.

     

    The biggest thing is there's about 50 pounds of weight difference between those two. Tyler looks like a football player and Bailey looks like he belongs on a basketball court, but you're right, they both look very comfortable on a pitcher's mound, especially for dudes their size.

     

    There really isn't that big of a weight difference. Wells lost about 35-40 pounds over the offseason. I don't know what he's at now,but probably in that 225-230 range. 

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    Speaking of prospects/suspects not in the Twins top 20... where might Bailey Ober be @ season's end? The K/BB ratio and strike to ball efficiency are outstanding of late. How many 9 inning A Ball games time out like Cedar Rapids did tonight at 2:18? If Ober can sustain this to successive levels.... Sign me up.

     

    Reading through the box as well as his year to date stats, I have to say the same thing. 12th round last year, so not a big prospect, but he's destroying low A right now. I think he needs to move up to see how he can do against tougher competition. The ERA isn't exceptional, but those peripherals are down right sexy. They'd be wise to bump him up. If he continues that at high A, you have a good reason to get excited. 

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