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  • Minor League Report (9/1): Matt Wallner Has a Monster Night

    Nash Walker

    The Wind Surge put on a power show while the Mussels lost in heartbreaking fashion. Meanwhile, Matt Wallner hit for the cycle. Let’s get you caught up on a busy night in the system!

    Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints

    RHP Brad Peacock re-signed with Twins, assigned to St.Paul Saints
    Twins selected the contract of OF Billy Hamilton
    Fort Myers activated SS Daniel Ozoria 
    RHP Bailey Ober began a rehab assignment for Fort Myers
    Wichita released LHP Ryan Horstman
    LHP Michael Boyle assigned to Wichita Wind Surge from Fort Myers Mighty Mussels.

    Saints 18, Storm Chasers 6
    Box Score

    It seems as though Matt Wallner has figured it out. The Forest Lake native hit a majestic three-run homer (off a lefty) as part of a huge night. Wallner also doubled twice and tripled, continuing his torrid 10-game stretch and completing the cycle. 

    Nash Knight and Jermaine Palacios each homered in the win. Wallner, Knight, Palacios, Chris Williams, and Cole Sturgeon all notched multi-hit games. It was an awesome night for the Saints’ offense. 

    Randy Dobnak walked four in 1 1/3 innings of relief but he allowed only one run. Dobnak’s sinker was sitting at 93-94 and his command returned toward the end of the outing. Evan Sisk continued his dominant season with a strikeout in less than an inning of work. 

    Wind Surge 12, Cardinals 8
    Box Score

    The Wind Surge scored early and often in a high-powered victory over the Springfield Cardinals. Aaron Sabato smashed a three-run homer in the top of the first, his fifth as a member of the Surge. Edouard Julien added his own three-run shot in the fifth, opening up an 8-1 lead. Yunior Severino got in on the power surge in the seventh with a solo blast. 

    The Cardinals, led by top prospect Jordan Walker, came storming back but it wasn’t enough. Sabato had a three-hit night, Austin Martin had a three-hit night, and Julien added to his ridiculous line with an outstanding evening. 

    Will Holland and DaShawn Keirsey each had two hits with the Surge tallying 17 total. The Wind Surge are 69-53, the best record in the Texas League. 

    Kernels 2, Dragons 6
    Box Score

    It was a rare tough night for David Festa and the Kernels. They couldn’t get the offense going, scoring just two runs on a solo homer from Brooks Lee and an RBI groundout from Pat Winkel. Even with the four earned runs, Festa’s ERA sits at a sterling 2.59. 

    Lee’s homer was his third as a Kernel. The first-round pick has adjusted wonderfully to pro-ball and continues to impress with his swing. Jake Rucker added two hits, bringing his season average up to .287. 

    The Kernels are 69-54 after dropping their fifth straight game. 

    Mussels 7, Marauders 8
    Box Score

    It was a crushing night for the Mussels. Leading 7-6 going in the bottom of the ninth, the Marauders hit a walk-off two-run homer to pull within a tie for first place in the FSL West. Ouch!

    Bailey Ober made his first rehab start for the Mussels, pitching three innings and throwing 42 pitches. Ober walked none and struck out three while giving up one run on a solo homer. It was a solid return to the mound for the Twins’ 2021 breakout rookie. 

    The Mussels had a great offensive night despite the loss, scoring seven runs on nine hits and six walks. Noah Miller drew three more free passes and now boasts a .345 on-base percentage. Kala’i Rosario belted his 12th homer of the year while Noah Cardenas, Tanner Schobel, and Rubel Cespedes also notched multi-hit games. 

    Hitter - Matt Wallner (5-for-6, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI)
    Pitcher - Hunter McMahon (2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K)

    #2 Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, HR
    #4 Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-for-6, 2 R, RBI
    #7 Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-2, 3 BB, 4 R
    #9 Matt Wallner (St.Paul)  - 5-for-6, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI
    #13 David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    #14 Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
    #16 Ronny Henriquez (St.Paul) - 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K
    #18 Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, R, RBI
    #19 Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, BB
    #20 Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, HR

    Saints - Simeon Woods Richardson
    Surge - Aaron Rozek
    Kernels - Travis Adams
    Mussels - TBD




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    Man what a game for Wallner.  I am always hard on him with the K rate but when he has nights like last night all the little stuff gets forgotten.  5 for 6 and hits for the cycle just a special, special night for him.  He started off slow but with that performance has finally moved his OPS into the 800 range at AAA.  If he stays locked in then he could still reach the 900 mark which he will need to press for MLB time.

    With Helman the base stealer at the top of the order then Wallner and then Williams who might have the hottest bat in the system and the stronger Palacios, that is a tough top of the order for any pitcher to face. Wallner's power is something to see. The ball gets out so fast seems like the camera has a hard time catching up to it.

    Jullien is the heart and soul of that Wichita team.  Another HR and another walk with 3 total hits and only one out on the night.  Not sure what more this guy can do as he is AAA bound next year for sure. Sabato with a good night and finally moved his OPS in the 700 range not that great but it is better than Martin's 674. 

    Feels like the arms in the system are tired as the scores in these games are getting out of hand but still a very good night for lot's of the hitters in the system.

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    I wonder if Walner gets put on 40 man and gets a September shot?  He is hot for right now, that may not carry into pro level, but we need as much offense as we can get, and he could supply that.  However, we have a few 60 day IL guys that may need to come of that will make it harder to find a 40 man spot for him. 

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    One week ago I wrote a long reply about why our minor league farm was still in good shape considering how many young players have already proven themselves. I added Wallner to the list of minor leaguers that could either start with the club and or make it up by mid season and how he could help our lack of home runs we are experiencing. 

    Somebody laughed at me and said Wallner was only hitting .161 at Triple A .. I pointed out that he had just been moved up and the sample size was small, then projected his would get his average up to at least .250 once he got his legs under him. One week later he's already batting .239 with the power we could use and making highlight sliding catches in the outfield.

    I for one, have high hopes for Wallner ..

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    Wallner is a nice story but Palacios is a much more important story. Palacios is probably the Twins starting SS next year if Correa goes, at least until Lewis comes back mid season. He may have a chance next year to cement himself as an MLB SS IF he can hit a little bit. If Correa comes back or is signed long term and Lewis stays on track, Palacios could become a very valuable trade chip - a guy who has already shown he can play SS at an above average MLB level defensively who now has shown he can hit AAA pitching. That asset is worth a AAA pitcher with MLB starter upside in a trade. His hitting improvement at AAA is great to see and great for the organization. 

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    Great nights for Wallner, et. al.  And Miller had another typical night for that young man, 1-2 with 3 walks.  Has me just shaking my head.

    When do we stop writing about Julien?  When he joins the Twins?  Or after he has become a solid part of the Twins lineup?  Also smiled when I saw that Martin had 3 hits.  He has been hitting much better since returning from the IL, hasn't he?

    Don't care about the results, great seeing Dobber and Ober pitching in real games.

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    Ober and Dobnak should end the season with the Saints. Twins should try and run Dobnak thru waivers now, rather than off-season, to get back the 40-man spot. His contract would pretty much guarantee that he would stay with Minnesota at St. Paul come next season.

    Drew Strotman has been puting up decent numbers in relief, Still not sure if he has the stuff to be, say, another Griffin Jax. Not sure if there will be 40-man spot open to him.

    Henriquez back in the rotation. I would've kept pushing him in multi-inning relief roles, which may be his ticket to the majors. Go figure.

    Sisk is someone who could be grabbed in the Rule 5. Like how the Twins pretty much side-tracked Moran last September, looks like Sisk won't get an opportunity this season.

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    2 hours ago, roger said:

    Also smiled when I saw that Martin had 3 hits.  He has been hitting much better since returning from the IL, hasn't he?

    Don't care about the results, great seeing Dobber and Ober pitching in real games.

    Amen :) 

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    5 hours ago, gil4 said:

    I like those jerseys - are they ones they use regularly (an alternate road jersey) or are they a special occasional or one-time jersey?  


    They were for Native American Heritage Night.


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