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  • Minor League Report (6/12): Offensive Clinic from Cedar Rapids, Kirilloff Homers Again

    David Youngs

    Some stellar offensive performances combined with a pair of dominant pitching outings highlighted the action from across the farm on Sunday. Get the latest updates from the Twins minor league system!

    Image courtesy of Steve Buhr, Twins Daily


    • Minnesota Twins selected the contract of RHP Tyler Thornburg from the St. Paul Saints.
    • RHP Hunter Wood assigned to St. Paul Saints from FCL Twins.

    St. Paul 5, Rochester 1
    Box Score

    Coming into a series against former Triple-A affiliate Rochester, the St. Paul Saints were sitting with a bleak record of 24-29. Yet after five straight wins over the Red Wings, the Saints broke out the brooms for some Sunday cleaning with a 5-1 win and a series sweep over Rochester. 

    Alex Kirilloff led the Saints with two hits, including a first-inning home run to bring the Saints to 30-29 on the year. On a full count in the first, Kirilloff crushed a ball over the right-center field wall to give the Saints a 1-0 lead.

    St. Paul added two more runs in the second inning thanks to an RBI double from David Banuelos (4) and an RBI single from Kirilloff. Banuelos' double scored Elliot Soto, who has served as a rock for the Saints' clubhouse this season. Twins Daily's Theo Tollefson wrote about Soto's valuable role recently, check it out! 

    The Saints would strike again in the fifth inning. With two runners on, Jermaine Palacios tallied a two-run RBI single to score Jake Cave and Mark Contreras to give St. Paul a 5-1 lead that held to the final pitch. 

    Starting pitcher Jake Faria (W, 1-2) was excellent for St. Paul, allowing just one run on five hits through five innings while striking out two. Following his departure, the bullpen crew of Hunter Wood, JC Ramirez, Drew Strotman, and Yennier Cano were stellar, tossing four innings of scoreless ball with a combined five strikeouts and just one hit. 

    Arkansas 6, Wichita 1
    Box Score

    Slated up against a Texas League foe, Wichita fell short in the series finale against Arkansas on Sunday afternoon. 

    Despite knotting the game at one early on, the Surge left seven runners on base and succumbed to two breakout innings from the Travelers. 

    Wichita scored their only run in the second inning thanks to an RBI single from Dennis Ortega. The Valencia, Venezuela native now has 23 RBI on the year and four hits in his last two games. 

    Starting pitcher Blayne Enlow (L, 0-1) didn't have his best day at the office, giving up three runs (1 earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out two through 3 1/3 innings. Enlow has struggled with an elbow injury and Sunday was his first start since May 31. While the results weren't there, expect Enlow to ease his way back into his dominant self in weeks to come. 

    The Wind Surge are still in excellent shape despite the loss. Wichita sits at 32-23 and atop the North division of the Texas League with a game-and-a-half lead over Tulsa. Arkansas (31-26) is just half a game behind Tulsa. The Wind Surge will head to Tulsa to take on the Drillers in a six-game series starting on Tuesday. 

    Cedar Rapids 9 South Bend 3
    Box Score

    Like Tom Cruise in a fighter jet, the Cedar Rapids Kernels hit early, often, and everywhere on Sunday afternoon in a dominant victory over South Bend.

    Combined with a lights-out performance from Cade Povich on the bump, the Kernels used four extra-base hits, three singles, and eight walks to pummel the Cubs and move to 37-20 on the 2022 season. 

    Cedar Rapids got the party started with a pair of two-run innings in the opening two frames. With Aaron Sabato on first, Seth Gray launched a 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall to give the Kernels a 2-0 lead in the first. Gray's homer was his sixth of the season and second of the series against the Cubs. 

    Just an inning later the Kernels mounted a two-out rally to double their lead. Will Holland kicked off the campaign by lacing his seventh double of the year to left field. In the next at-bat, Dylan Neuse punched a single to the left side of the infield that allowed Holland to score thanks to a fielding error. 

    The Cubbies would pay for the error.

    On the very next pitch, Alerick Soularie doubled to right field and scored Neuse all the way from first base. The former Tennessee Volunteer now has four doubles on the season and three in the month of June. 

    The red-hot Kernels weren't done yet. With the bases loaded and one out, Christian Encarnacion-Strand put the nail in the coffin with a grand slam over the left-field wall to give Cedar Rapids an 8-1 lead. Incredible would be an understatement to describe Encarnacion-Strand's 2022 campaign. The Twins Daily Top 20 Prospect now has 13 homers on the young season and is slashing .298/.389/.769 in the month of June. It wouldn't be shocking to see the 22-year-old get the call up to Wichita sooner rather than later!

    And while the bats will certainly get the storyline, Kernels starting pitcher Cade Povich was stellar on the afternoon, earning his fourth win of the season. Povich allowed just one run on four hits through six innings while striking out five batters. Walking just two batters, Sunday's matinee masterpiece was the Nebraska Cornhusker's longest outing of the season. 


    Game One
    Daytona 11, Fort Myers 4
    Box Score

    Despite a pair of second run innings the Mussels dropped the first of two games against the Tortugas on Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State. 

    Trailing 2-0 in the second with a runner on first, Nelson Roberto launched his first homer of the year over the left-center field wall to put Fort Myers on the board and tie the game at two. 

    The Mussels would score on the long ball again in the fourth thanks to a solo shot from Carlos Aguiar (1) that would bring Fort Myers within one run.

    The Tortugas broke it open in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three runs followed by two more in the fifth and one more in the sixth.

    After a lengthy weather delay, the Mussels hoped to wane the deficit but were only able to plate one more run thanks to an RBI walk from Rubel Cespedes in the top of the seventh.

    Fort Myers starter Pierson Ohl (L, 2-3) gave up five runs (three earned runs) on five hits while striking out four through three innings. Anthony Escobar and Samuel Perez were the only two Fort Myers pitchers that didn't give up a run, each pitching 2/3 of an inning.

    Game Two
    Daytona 3, Fort Myers 1
    Box Score

    After a blowout loss in game one, the Mussels played the Tortugas tight in game two of the Sunday afternoon doubleheader. Unfortunately the Fort Myers bats' ran dry and a solid pitching outing from Mike Paredes wasn't enough to propel the Mussels to a win.

    Starting pitcher Mike Paredes lasted 3 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out two. Paredes is now 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA on the year. Relievers Jackson Hicks and Malik Barrington pitched well enough to keep Fort Myers in the game but the Mussels' offense failed to prevail.

    Despite tallying only four hits in the game, Fort Myers left a whopping 12 runners on base and were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. The team's lone run came on an RBI single in the fifth inning from LaRon Smith that scored Rubel Cespedes.

    Hitter of the Day: Christian Encarnacion Strand (Cedar Rapids)- 1-for-4, HR (Grand Slam), 4 RBI
    Pitcher of the Day: Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids)- W, 6 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 5 K

    Check out the Prospect Tracker for much more on the new Twins' Top 20 prospects after seeing how they did on Sunday. 

    #10 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-5, 2 BB, K
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-3, K 
    #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-3, BB, 2 K
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, Grand Slam, 4 RBI



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    Some new hitters need to step up for the minor league teams.

    Take Lewis away from the Saints and they go on a big losing streak. Call Steer up and move Kirilloff down and they are hitting like crazy.

    Take Steer away from the Wind Surge and they can't score much of anything. Time for Austin Martin to step up for them.

    Emmanuel Rodriguez gets hurt for the Mighty Mussels and suddenly they are having problems scoring much.

    One great hitter seems to make the whole lineup better.

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    11 hours ago, FlyingFinn said:

    Some new hitters need to step up for the minor league teams.

    Take Lewis away from the Saints and they go on a big losing streak. Call Steer up and move Kirilloff down and they are hitting like crazy.

    Take Steer away from the Wind Surge and they can't score much of anything. Time for Austin Martin to step up for them.

    Emmanuel Rodriguez gets hurt for the Mighty Mussels and suddenly they are having problems scoring much.

    One great hitter seems to make the whole lineup better.

    That is the difference between Minor league and major league teams.  If one great hitter did it in the majors the Angels would be in the series every year instead of out of the playoffs.

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    Hunter Wood could be a sneaky good RP add for the Twins in the coming months. He has had some success in the big leagues before having a partial tear of his UCL and having a brace inserted last year vs TJ surgery. 

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    I'm less concerned about the results with Enlow right now, just that he's pitching. Looking forward to him starting to pitch 5-6 innings this season and hoping that he has an injury-free season. The results will come, IMHO.

    CES is doing everything he needs to do at the plate to earn promotion, but he probably needs to do more in the field as well. He's playing 3B like he has a frying pan for a glove and a shotgun for an arm, and needs to improve there. A-ball is the right spot for him until he starts making a little more progress there, I think.

    I think Kirilloff is coming up when they have to add a position player to the 26-man, but it's going to get tight with Garlick coming off the IL soon and Miranda swinging the bat so well right now. Garlick destroys LHP and fills a role, Miranda has more positional flexibility. Kirilloff is superior 1B and would tighten up the INF defense. Feels like 3 players 2 spots right now?

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    Unless CES moves up or gets hurt, he looks like he'll walk away with the Midwest POY (if there is such a thing).

    Runs - 4th

    Hits - 1st

    Doubles - 2nd

    Triples - 10th

    Home Runs - 2nd

    RBI - 1st

    AVG - 7th

    SLG - 3rd

    OPS - 2nd

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