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  • Minor League Report (5/8): Kernels Win in a Walk-off, Martin Homers on Mother's Day


    Theo Tollefson

    The Twins completed a sweep of the Oakland A’s at home on Sunday to bring their record to 18-11 on the season. The Minor League affiliates had a busy schedule on Sunday as the Saints and Mighty Mussles saw lopsided scores, the Wind Surge played a double header, the Kernels had a low scoring victory that saw their stater’s best performance of the season.

    Image courtesy of Theo Tollefson

    TRANSACTIONS 

    • Twins placed OF Trevor Larnach on the IL (right adductor strain)
    • Twins recalled C Jose Godoy
    • OF Jake Cave was activated from the temporarily inactive list. 
    • C Roy Morales activated from the Development List and promoted to the Saints. 

    SAINTS SENTINEL 
    St. Paul 3, Iowa 10

    Box Score
    SP: Cole Sands - 3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
    HR: David Banuelos (2)
    Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras (2-5, 2 2B, RBI (17), 2 K)

    The Saints played the final game of their 12-game homestead on Sunday with the conclusion of their series against the Iowa Cubs. On Saturday, the Saints crushed the Cubs in a 9-2 victory. On Sunday, they received the other end of the stick. 

    The Cubs got to the Saints early in the top of the second scoring four runs on five hits and a walk off of starter Cole Sands. Sands had a better go in both the first and third innings giving up only one hit in each of those innings. The high number of strikeouts and a tiring second inning had Sands at 71 pitches through three innings, and six Saints relievers came in to finish out the game. 

    At the plate, many of the Saints bats went cold aside from Mark Contreras who had two doubles and an RBI for the Saints on Sunday. The Saints lineup also featured the return of Jake Cave from the temporarily inactive list leading off for St. Paul and going 1-for-4 with a double and RBI. 

    One of the newest additions to the Saints roster, second baseman Kevin Merrell, spoke on adjusting to the new clubhouse after his promotion from Wichita and which players he has gravitated to as mentors with the Saints. 

    “There are so many guys in there with a ton of experience, and I just need to watch closely and see what I can pick up. It’s been an easy transition, there’s a lot of phenomenal dudes on this team,” said Merrell.  

    Merrell is a former first-round draft pick by the Oakland Athletics in 2017 and went 33rd overall in the draft. Merrell has already found a teammate on the Saints he wants to learn as much as possible from, that teammate being Saints infielder Elliot Soto.

    Merrell explained, “He can talk to anybody. He’s super encouraging, and he’s very confident in what he does. I think that’s contagious for a lot of us. He’s played for a long time. He’s 32 or so, has a lot of experience, and I would say he stands out the most for me.”

    The Saints will start a two-week road trip on Tuesday with two different stops, the first being in Columbus, Ohio for a week-long match-up with the Clippers. 

    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Game 1 
    Wichita 4, Tulsa 7 

    Box Score Game 1
    SP: Chris Vallimont - 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: None

    Game 2 
    Wichita 5, Tulsa 6
    Box Score Game 2 

    SP: Casey Legumina - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 5 K
    HR: Austin Martin (1), Michael Helman (4)
    Multi-hit games: Martin (2-4, R, HR, RBI (8)), Edouard Julien (2-3, R, 2 2B, RBI (10), K)

    The Wind Surge entered Sunday afternoon riding an eight-game win streak and had a doubleheader scheduled with the Tulsa Drillers to finish out their five-game series. Unfortunately for the WInd Surge, they were swept in the doubleheader. 

    Chris Vallimont was on the mound for his sixth start of the season. Vallimont had a strong first inning recovering from a leadoff triple to Drillers shortstop Jacob Amaya. Amaya scored in the next at-bat on a sacrifice groundout. Vallimont continued to cool off in the second with a 1-2-3 inning, but the Drillers picked up three more runs in the third off of Vallimont which later knocked him out of the game. 

    The Wind Surge bats were cold throughout Game 1 and although they tallied seven hits, no Wind Surge player was able to tally more than one hit. Wind Surge third baseman Spencer Steer managed to drive in two of their four runs in the game.

     

     

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Game 2 brought a better hitting game for the Wind Surge, but they still fell short in another loss against the Drillers.

    Game 2 was started by Casey Legumina who made his first start for the Wind Surge after three starts with Cedar Rapids to start 2022. Legumina gave up two walks in the top of the first inning but left the runners on base to get out of a jam. He continued that success in the second and retired the minimum in order. The third inning was where Legumina struggled the most, walking four batters and giving up two hits including a home run to Drillers left fielder James Outman

    Austin Martin fans were able to rejoice at least in Game 2 as he hit his first home run of the season. Third baseman Michael Helman also had a home run in the sixth inning that brought Wichita within one run. The Wind Surge were unable to score more runs in the bottom of the seventh in order to tie the game and force it into extras.

     

     

    The Wind Surge begin their next series on the road against Northwest Arkansas Tuesday morning for another six-game series with the Naturals. 

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 2, Quad Cities 1

    Box Score
    SP: Sawyer Gipson-Long 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
    HR: None 
    Multi hit games: Jair Camargo (2-5, K)

    The Kernels completed their final game against the River Bandits on Sunday taking a win to complete a 4-2 series victory of Quad Cities. 

    The 2-1 victory for the Kernels was the smallest scoring game of the series as Anthony Prato and Wander Javier drove in the only two runs. Javier hit into a force out in the bottom of the 8th inning to score Aaron Sabato with the game-tying run. They went to extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Javier was on third base when Anthony Prato his a fly ball to right field, deep enough to end the game. 

     

     

    Sawyer Gipson-Long had his best start of the season on Sunday. He had season highs in the start with innings pitched (5 1/3) and strikeouts (6). He also did not give up any runs or walks in the game. 

    The Kernels will be on the road in Peoria to play another six-game series against the Chiefs. 

    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 9, Lakeland 1

    Box Score
    SP: Steve Hajjar 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 K
    HR:  None
    Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (3-4, 2 R, SB (6), RBI (6)), Mikey Perez (2-3, 2B, 3 RBI (7), 2 BB), Kyle Schmidt (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI (13), 2 BB, 2 K), Daniel Ozoria (2-4, R)

    The Mighty Mussels completed their series against the Lakeland Flying Tigers with a lopsided 9-1 victory which brought about a series split. 

    The Mighty Mussels pitching was dominated by Steve Hajjar and Marco Raya. Hajjar started the game and threw three no-hit innings, walking four and striking out eight out of the nine outs. Raya came into the game in the top of the fifth. Although Raya gave up a home run in the top of the sixth, he only allowed one other base runner on a hit and struck out four to earn the win. 

    The Mussels offense lit up all afternoon scoring nine runs on 11 hits without the help of a home run. Mussels third baseman Jake Rucker led the offense with a three-hit game. 

    The Mussels will begin their next series at home on Tuesday night against Palm Beach for another six-game series against the Cardinals Low-A affiliate.  

    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day
    –  Sawyer Gipson-Long (Cedar Rapids) - 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
    Hitter of the Day – Jake Rucker (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, 2 R, SB (6), RBI (6) 

    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:
    #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-3  
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - Game 1, 0-2, R, 2 BB Game 2, 2-4, R, HR, SB, RBI 
    #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-4, R, 2B, RBI (3)
    #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, R, 2 BB
    #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, RBI (6), BB, K
    #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
    #15 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
    #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Game 1, 1-4, SB, 2 RBI (20)
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, SB, BB, K 
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - Game 1, 0-3, BB, K Game 2, 2-3, R, 2 2B, RBI (10)

    TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 10. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). 

    St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CST) - Ronny Henriquez
    Wichita @ Northwest Arkansas (11:05 AM CST) - Ben Gross
    Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:05 PM CST) - TBD
    Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (5:30 PM CST) - David Festa

    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games. 

     

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    Always exciting, at least for me, to see how Raya does.  Really believe that he has a big future, someday with the Twins.

    Has anyone else noticed how well Sisk and Schulfer are doing out of the Wichita pen?  Sisk didn't do all that well late last year after coming over from St. Louis in whichever trade that was.  But he sure is getting it done this spring.  And Schulfer hasn't allowed a run in what, nine appearances?  Being in AA isn't that far off.  Would love to see a UW-M guy pitching for the Twins.

    Who gets the first promotion from Wichita, Martin or Julien?  What a great draft pick, and signing, Julien has become.  

     

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    It makes me wonder why the Twins brought up Godoy instead of Contreras with Larnach on IL.  I know - the 40 man, but other teams make changes to their lists. 

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    Thanks for the summary, Theo.  Couple of thoughts.  Does anyone know what is up with Hajjar's control.  His walks per 9 have nearly doubled over his last year at Michigan.  One would think that in lower A that players would be less disciplined than in college, and more likely to chase.  Maybe they have him working on some things.  His strikeouts are great, so his stuff must be pretty good.  Second, I like Martin as a prospect, but I am not sure one homerun is cause for celebration.  If they are trying to get him to drive the ball more, I am not sure it is working--at least not yet.  Finally, Sands seems like he is either lights out or has trouble getting anyone out.  I didn't watch last night's game, but the stat line is not pretty.

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    I haven't been keeping real close attention, but it seems like Martin is still finding his way on base despite not hitting all that well.  And once he does get on, he makes it count.  At least he still seems to be putting in good PAs and isn't pressing.  That's an encouraging sign.

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    1 hour ago, mikelink45 said:

    It makes me wonder why the Twins brought up Godoy instead of Contreras with Larnach on IL.  I know - the 40 man, but other teams make changes to their lists. 

    Better to bring up Godoy to ride the bench. Celestino has been playing very well. Kirilloff can't even get in the lineup consistently right now.

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    2 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

    Better to bring up Godoy to ride the bench. Celestino has been playing very well. Kirilloff can't even get in the lineup consistently right now.

    I understand - Kiriloff has not earned a starting job, but should be in LF with Larnach down.  Although Celestino is hitting so well it is hard to put him on the bench. 

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    2 hours ago, roger said:

    Has anyone else noticed how well Sisk and Schulfer are doing out of the Wichita pen?  Sisk didn't do all that well late last year after coming over from St. Louis in whichever trade that was.  But he sure is getting it done this spring.  And Schulfer hasn't allowed a run in what, nine appearances?  Being in AA isn't that far off.  Would love to see a UW-M guy pitching for the Twins.

    Scherff (from Boston for Robles) has been good too and is younger than both.

    Sisk has a lefty sidearm delivery.  That kind of thing can often be funky enough to be tough on major league hitters as well.

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    31 minutes ago, 2wins87 said:

    Scherff (from Boston for Robles) has been good too and is younger than both.

    Sisk has a lefty sidearm delivery.  That kind of thing can often be funky enough to be tough on major league hitters as well.

    It seems like there are a lot of pitching prospects this year that are improving their "prospect status".  The mid-year prospect rankings are going to be very interesting.

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    Cole Sands is getting absolutely butchered by the AAA batters. They are hitting .338 against him, and he is has an .862 ERA. Hard to believe the Twins even considered letting him pitch in The Show and called him up. Has he hit his ceiling?

    And Drew Strotman is getting the same treatment in the Twins AAA St Paul both this year and last year, and more walks than Ks. Both need some help.

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