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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.



    • 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.


    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 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.




    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.




    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…






    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




    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.







    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.






    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)



    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.




    #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.




    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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    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.


    The big difference between the two is that one came out of HS and the other college. I'd be a bit more patient with the HS guy before I wrote him off. 

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


    Rookie ball stats are pretty worthless for college guys. In the past 15 years, the best E-town hitting season was by Max Murphy (far superior to Jeffers' current stats), and he didn't even hit in A-ball. Other E-town superstars have included Romy Jimenez, Angel Morales, Doug Deeds, etc.

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    the best E-town hitting season was by Max Murphy (far superior to Jeffers' current stats), and he didn't even hit in A-ball.

    Not relevant to anything, but the players held him in some esteem, right about that time. Or, at least, one player (SSS). :) I happened to be sitting next to a player during a game at the back fields at Spring Training a few years ago, and someone launched a homer. I wasn't sure, and asked, "was that Murphy?" "Yeah, he can hit," the unnamed player volunteered in typical understated style. So I made it a point to follow Max after that, and sure enough, he proved again the old saying that you just never know.

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    Rookie ball stats are pretty worthless for college guys. In the past 15 years, the best E-town hitting season was by Max Murphy (far superior to Jeffers' current stats), and he didn't even hit in A-ball. Other E-town superstars have included Romy Jimenez, Angel Morales, Doug Deeds, etc.

    Isn't the pedigree a bit different? Position? Maybe it's the catching situation in the organization that's making me jumpy.

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