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  • Twins Minor League Report (6/30): Wallner Wallops and Varland Victimizes


    Ted Schwerzler

    For the games that were high in runs scored tonight, there were equal amounts that saw low totals. Matt Wallner blasted two dingers to make sure Wichita wouldn't be on the losing end of things, and Louie Varland did his best to hold serve on the mound. Cade Povich was great for Cedar Rapids, and a handful of other stars shined bright.

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    SAINTS SENTINEL 
    Omaha 10, St. Paul 0
    Box Score

    Saints starter and top Twins pitching prospect Jordan Balazovic was on the mound to start this one, and he recorded just two outs before being lifted. Balazovic allowed seven runs, all earned, on seven hits. He walked none, struck out one, but gave up a whopping three homers. Knocking on the door of the big leagues, his Triple-A ERA is now 9.24 this season.

    After the wheels fell off for the starter, things continued to unravel the rest of the way. Omaha scored another run in the 3rd inning and then added yet another in the 5th inning. The Saints were looking at a 9-0 deficit just halfway through this contest.

    Giving up another run in the 8th inning, St. Paul had gotten to the point of a traditional run rule. With just five hits on the evening, two each coming from Spencer Steer and Curtis Terry, the production just wasn't going to be enough to get it done.

    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wichita 7, Springfield 6
    Box Score

    Louie Varland took the pill tonight for the Wind Surge and worked 5 1/3 strong innings. He gave up three runs, only two of which were earned, but punched out nine while walking two and allowing five hits. Varland was again great and continues to look the part of a future piece for Minnesota.

    Edouard Julien continued to do damage at the plate and showed up early in this one. His seventh homer of the season was a solo shot to left field in the first inning putting Wichita up early. After Springfield tied things in the 2nd inning, Matt Wallner blasted his 17th home run of the year, a two-run shot, scoring Anthony Prato, to make it a 3-1 game in the 3rd inning.

    The Cardinals ultimately retook the lead by the bottom of the 6th inning, but the Wind Surge answered in the 7th inning. Andrew Bechtold roped his eighth double of the season to score Chris Williams and things were knotted at four.

    Wallner was not interested in extras tonight and provided separation when he launched his 18th homer, a second this evening, during the 8th inning, to provide another one-run lead. In the top of the 9th inning Kevin Merrell drove in Williams on a sacrifice fly before Bechtold crushed his eighth home run to make it 7-4.

     The Cardinals tried to make things interesting with a two-run homer in the 9th inning, but that's where their rally ended. Wichita made the most of their hits scoring seven runs on nine hits. Williams, Bechtold, and Wallner each recorded multi-hit games. Leobaldo Cabrera also showed up defensively making a home run saving catch.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Wisconsin 2, Cedar Rapids 1
    Box Score

    Cade Povich was tabbed as tonight’s starter for Cedar Rapids and he continued to provide good outings as he has much of the season. Working six scoreless innings, Povich allowed just two runs on five hits while walking one and fanning three. The two runs both came on a 2nd inning homer.

    Wander Javier picked his pitcher up, getting one of the runs back in the 5th inning. The Kernels' shortstop crushed a ball way out to left field for his seventh ding-dong of the season. Unfortunately, that’s all the lineup could muster, despite out-hitting the Timber Rattlers six to five.

    Javier was the lone Kernel to record multiple hits on the night, adding a single to his longball.

    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Dunedin 2, Fort Myers 1
    Box Score

    Stud pitching prospect Marco Raya was on the bump tonight for Fort Myers and he’s been great all year. Continuing to build back up after time missed, he worked three scoreless innings without allowing a hit or walk. Raya punched out four and dropped his season ERA to 2.77. Regi Grace followed with three scoreless innings. He struck out six batters and didn't issue a walk. 

    The game remained scoreless into the middle innings until Keoni Cavaco crushed a homer, his fourth of the season, to center field. Fort Myers took the first lead of the game at 1-0. The Mighty Mussels did allow Dunedin to plate two in the top of the 8th inning, ceding the lead. Keeping it there into the 9th inning, they had their last opportunity. The Mussels managed just two hits in the game. 

    With nothing to their credit in the 9th inning and just two hits total on the evening, Fort Myers went down without a fight.

    COMPLEX CHRONICLES
    FCL Twins 2, FCL Rays 1
    Box Score

    Juan Nunez was great as today’s starter working five innings allowing just an unearned run on three hits. He punched out five and walked just two. Danny De Andrade was the lone Twins hitter to record multiple hits, both being singles. With two outs and runners at 2nd and 3rd in the 10th inning, Misael Urbina singled to left field scoring Ismael Perez and walking it off for the Twins.

    DOMINICAN DAILIES
    DSL Twins 1, DSL Nationals 0 (Susp/4)
    Box Score

    This game was suspended in the 4th inning with the DSL Twins leading 1-0. The Twins had recorded two hits, getting a home run from Rafael Cruz, his first of the season.

    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
    Hitter of the Day – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR

    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed:

    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-4
    #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-4, 3 RBI, 2B, K
    #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 0.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
    #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 2-4, K, 2 2B
    #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-4
    #10 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
    #11 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
    #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR
    #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, R, RBI, HR, BB, K

    FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Omaha @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Ronny Henriquez
    Wichita @ Springfield (7:05PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long
    Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:40PM CST) - TBD
    Dunedin @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - RHP Jaylen Nowlin

    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates and the two Complex Season affiliates playing.

     

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    Wallner looks like he is taking batting practice. Low and outside, homer to left. High and inside, homer to right. He is carrying the Wind Surge as the pitchers often need it. Not sure Varland was the best pitcher of the night, giving up 5 hits and 2 walks and 3 runs in 5 or so innings. Julien doing well again tonight but Martin, not so much.

    Raya and the Fort Myers pitchers were great. One Cavaco homer and the rest of the night the hitting and the fielding (4 errors, both runs unearned) stunk. That league is death to most hitters except for E. Rodriguez.

    Povich also had better numbers than Varland but the CES-less Kernels batted like Fort Myers.

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    I mentioned Schulfer as an interesting bullpen arm yesterday and he got his first work in a week last night for the Saints, so here's a little broadcast scouting.

    I think it was a bit of an off night compared to what I saw in his AA appearances.  He seemed to be struggling to control both his pitches compared to the previous outings that I watched.  He managed to avoid giving up any free passes though, including coming back from 3-0 to throw a fastball by the #8 hitter for a strikeout.

    He threw mostly fastballs this time as his sliders were missing the zone, including a couple non-competitive pitches outside and in the dirt.  His fastballs seemed to all be getting clocked at either 97 or 99 mph.  The radar gun in St. Paul has been known to be a little hot, so maybe call it sitting 95-97, possibly touching 98.

    It ended up being a short outing as he induced an inning ending GIDP to erase an opposite field lead-off single.

    I don't think he looked great yesterday, but he still flashed stuff that seems like it could work in a major league bullpen, and his 5% walk rate across two levels is indicative of a guy who usually has very good control out of the pen.

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    44 minutes ago, 2wins87 said:

    I mentioned Schulfer as an interesting bullpen arm yesterday and he got his first work in a week last night for the Saints, so here's a little broadcast scouting.

    I think it was a bit of an off night compared to what I saw in his AA appearances.  He seemed to be struggling to control both his pitches compared to the previous outings that I watched.  He managed to avoid giving up any free passes though, including coming back from 3-0 to throw a fastball by the #8 hitter for a strikeout.

    He threw mostly fastballs this time as his sliders were missing the zone, including a couple non-competitive pitches outside and in the dirt.  His fastballs seemed to all be getting clocked at either 97 or 99 mph.  The radar gun in St. Paul has been known to be a little hot, so maybe call it sitting 95-97, possibly touching 98.

    It ended up being a short outing as he induced an inning ending GIDP to erase an opposite field lead-off single.

    I don't think he looked great yesterday, but he still flashed stuff that seems like it could work in a major league bullpen, and his 5% walk rate across two levels is indicative of a guy who usually has very good control out of the pen.

    I was at the Saints game last night. I was surprised to see Schulfer hitting 99.

    With that said, I really hope the radar gun there isn't hot. If that's true then Balazovic was sitting 90-92 with his fastball. He looked terrible last night to put it nicely.

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    After continually seeing Wallner's name in these write-ups, one has to wonder what his future holds.  I know there is some question about his strikeout rate, but the kid looks like the real deal.  But who is ahead of him on the Twins and where will he fit in?

    All indications are that when healthy, Larnach is the Twins left fielder for the foreseeable future.  And Keps has right field for at least the next couple.  Granted, Kepler continues to disappoint a bit with his average below .250 every year.  But his defense is among the best of all right fielders and he runs well.  So he is someone you want on this team, at least I do.

    Yes, Wallner's arrival could coincide with the end of Kep's contract.  So is that his future?  Or is he an ideal candidate to move in a meaningful trade?  With Kirilloff penciled into first base, the question remains who else is coming up to fill one of those corner outfield spots?  Lots of maybes, but no one who seems as likely as Wallner.  Will be an interesting dilemma the Twins will have to answer sometime between now and the end of next year. 

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    It continues to baffle me that they're letting Balazovic pitch through his knee issues. It can't be good for his confidence, and I'm always skeptical that playing through something like that isn't making the injury worse. 

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    1 hour ago, Tibs said:

    I was at the Saints game last night. I was surprised to see Schulfer hitting 99.

    With that said, I really hope the radar gun there isn't hot. If that's true then Balazovic was sitting 90-92 with his fastball. He looked terrible last night to put it nicely.

    The hardest fastball I had previously seen out of Schulfer was 97 in Wichita.  99 isn't out of the question.  He may have dialed it up a bit more since then, and he was overly well rested for his appearance last night.

    I think Balazovic was typically sitting 93-95 last year, so it's not good either way.  I don't know if he is a guy who typically builds velocity throughout his outings, but his velocity is definitely a part of his struggles this year.

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    I'm sorry but, while important, pitching is NOT ALL ABOUT STRIKEOUTS. 

    Thus while promising and encouraging, I would not classify Varland's outing as great (as stated in the recap) nor do I feel it worthy of being pitcher of the day (Povich and Nunez were better IMO).

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    2 hours ago, Tibs said:

    I was at the Saints game last night. I was surprised to see Schulfer hitting 99.

    With that said, I really hope the radar gun there isn't hot. If that's true then Balazovic was sitting 90-92 with his fastball. He looked terrible last night to put it nicely.

    I think it's like Raindog just said, Blazer just doesn't "look" healthy.  Something isn't right with that guy, and I have to wonder what's going on "under the hood" so to speak.  He's got to much talent to be struggling like this.

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    On 7/1/2022 at 9:53 AM, roger said:

    After continually seeing Wallner's name in these write-ups, one has to wonder what his future holds.  I know there is some question about his strikeout rate, but the kid looks like the real deal.  But who is ahead of him on the Twins and where will he fit in?

    All indications are that when healthy, Larnach is the Twins left fielder for the foreseeable future.  And Keps has right field for at least the next couple.  Granted, Kepler continues to disappoint a bit with his average below .250 every year.  But his defense is among the best of all right fielders and he runs well.  So he is someone you want on this team, at least I do.

    Yes, Wallner's arrival could coincide with the end of Kep's contract.  So is that his future?  Or is he an ideal candidate to move in a meaningful trade?  With Kirilloff penciled into first base, the question remains who else is coming up to fill one of those corner outfield spots?  Lots of maybes, but no one who seems as likely as Wallner.  Will be an interesting dilemma the Twins will have to answer sometime between now and the end of next year. 

    Wallner (a24) will be ready for the big show opening day next year at this rate. It would surprise me to not see him moved to AAA soon. By pretty much every measure, Wallner has made significant improvements this year, at a much higher level of play. There's nothing for him left to prove in AA.

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