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  • Twins Minor League Report (5/10): Mighty Mussels No-Hitter!


    Steve Lein

    The story on the Minnesota Twins farm system Tuesday night was the pitching performance from the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. In a combined effort, including a standout start, they blanked their opponent for the fourth no-hitter in franchise history.

    Image courtesy of William Parmeter (from L to R: Hunter McMahon, Dillon Tatum, David Festa, Jaylen Nowlin)

     

     

     

     

    TRANSACTIONS

    • The Minnesota Twins selected the contracts of RHP Jharel Cotton and OF Mark Contreras in advance of their series opener with the Houston Astros.
    • In Fort Myers, the Mighty Mussels placed RHP Logan Campbell on the 7-day injured list, and in a corresponding move activated RHP Niklas Rimmel.

    SAINTS SENTINEL
    St. Paul 6, Columbus 7 (12 innings)
    Box Score

    The way these teams traded runs and leads throughout the game, it was no surprise they needed extra-innings to reach a conclusion. The Saints tied or took the lead four different times, and the Clippers did the same.

    St. Paul got the first run on the scoreboard in the third, when Ernie Yake drove in Caleb Hamilton with a single. They tied the game at three in the top of the seventh, thanks to a 2-run home run from Hamilton, his second of the year. Down 5-3 in the ninth, RBI singles from Derek Fisher and Hamilton sent the game to extra innings. In the tenth, the Saints were able to get their free runner across the plate to take a 6-5 lead courtesy of a Jake Cave single, but Columbus was able to match it in the bottom half to extend it further. That’s where the luck ran out for the good guys. In the twelfth, the Clippers were finally able to walk it off with a two-out double that was just out of the reach of left-fielder Cole Sturgeon.

    On the pitching front, the Saints got a decent effort from diminutive starting pitcher Ronny Henriquez, who completed 4 2/3 innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits (one home run) and a walk, while striking out four. JC Ramirez got the next four outs, allowing a home run of his own. Jovani Moran allowed two runs on three hits while striking out one in the seventh. Juan Minaya pitched two scoreless innings to get the game into extra innings, where Trevor Megill took over. He pitched two innings, allowing one of the inherited runners to score, walked one, and struck out two. Wladimir Pinto was charged with the loss after allowing the walk-off double. 

    Jermaine Palacios (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, K), Hamilton (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI), Roy Morales (2-for-5), and Yake (2-for-5, R, RBI) each collected multiple hits in the loss.

    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wichita 4, NW Arkansas 7
    Box Score

    The Wind Surge opened their series with the Travelers by sending right-hander Ben Gross to the bump. He went the first two innings, working around a double in the first and a walk in the second for a scoreless outing. He struck out three. Steven Klimek was brought on to start the third inning and ran into a bunch of trouble. Before it was over NW Arkansas had a 4-0 lead, but Klimek was able to come back and deliver a scoreless fourth inning.

    The Wichita lineup was able to get three of those runs back right away in the top of the fourth, when Matt Wallner led off the inning with a walk. He was followed by back-to-back blasts from Alex Isola and Andrew Bechtold to make it 4-3.

    From there, the Wind Surge got two scoreless innings of relief from Tyler Viza, who continued his early season dominance with three strikeouts against one walk and one hit allowed. In 18 1/3 innings pitched so far on the season, Viza owns a 0.49 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, while racking up 29 K’s (14.2/9IP). 

    Osiris German came on for the start of the seventh inning, and was greeted by four consecutive hits that led to two more runs and a 6-3 lead for the home team. In the eighth, Alex Scherff gave up a solo home run to account for the final Travelers run on the scoreboard.

    Wichita was able to add a single run in the eighth, but they had a bigger opportunity for a comeback as Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, and Spencer Steer all got at-bats with the bases loaded. Martin struck out, the lone run scored on a passed ball during Julien’s at-bat (BB), and then Steer flew out to left, so it was not to be.

    Bechtold (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI, K) was the only Wind Surge player to pick up multiple hits, but Julien (1-for-2, 3 BB), Martin (1-for-4, BB, 2 K), Isola (1-for-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), and Leobaldo Cabrera (0-for-2, 2 BB, K) all reached base multiple times. Despite all those opportunities, they were unable to cash them in by going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and leaving 11 men on base for the game.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 10, Peoria 1
    Box Score

    The Kernels lineup popped often in this one, and along with poor defense from the Chiefs (4 errors), led to a blowout victory on the road in their series opener.

    Jair Camargo, Will Holland, and Alerick Soularie all hit home runs for Cedar Rapids, while Christian Encarnacion-Strand added a double, and Willie Joe Garry Jr. a triple. Those five extra-base hits were the majority of the Kernels eight hits in the game, and drove in six of their ten runs. Jeferson Morales led the way with three RBI, and Anthony Prato, Soularie, and Holland each scored two runs.

    Cedar Rapids got another strong start from left-hander Brent Headrick, who went the first five innings to pick up his fourth win. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out six. Headrick has now gone 16 innings without allowing a run over his last three starts. In that time, he’s allowed just six hits, walked two, and struck out 23.

    Matt Mullenbach allowed the Chiefs lone run in his two innings of relief. He gave up one hit and struck out two. Derek Molina walked one and struck out two in a scoreless inning, and Tyler Palm finished off the win with a scoreless ninth. The Kernels improve to as stellar 20-8 on the season, and lead the Midwest League West division by two games.

    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Palm Beach 0, Fort Myers 3
    Box Score

    This game was all about pitching for the Mighty Mussels, as you can’t do much better than a no-hitter!

    It is the 4th no-hitter in franchise history, with the last coming on September 18th, 2021 when the Mighty Mussels defeated the Tampa Tarpons 3-0.

    This one was a lot like that one, as it was a combined effort from multiple pitchers. Last year’s 13th-round draft pick, Right-hander David Festa, got the start and was spectacular for the first six innings. He walked the second batter of the game but retired the next 10 in a row before issuing his second walk in the fourth. He picked up two strikeouts in five of his six innings, and finished with 11 on the game, also notably topping out at over 99 MPH with his fastball.

    With Festa at 84 pitches (52 for strikes, 22 (!) swinging) after the sixth inning, the Mighty Mussels went to reliever Jaylen Nowlin, their 19th round draft pick in 2021, to start the seventh. He delivered two more hitless frames, retiring all six men he faced, including three strikeouts of his own. Hunter McMahon was brought on for the ninth to finish it off, and he did just that thanks in part to a nice play of his own. After a leadoff walk, he was able to work around it by getting a groundball out and then snagging a liner right back at him, where he was able to double-off the runner at second base to end the game.

    In all, Mighty Mussels pitchers combined to allow just three baserunners on walks, and struck out 14 Cardinals.

    Fort Myers got all the runs they would end up needing in the bottom of the first inning when Noah Miller was able to come around to score on an outfield error after reaching base with a walk. The lineup went on to add single runs in the fifth and eighth innings thanks to a wild pitch and solo home run from Mikey Perez, his second of the season. While as a team they also managed just two hits in the game, the Mighty Mussels were able to take advantage of eight walks, including three from Miller, and two from catcher Dillon Tatum.

    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Pitcher of the Day - David Festa, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 6 IP, 3 BB, 11 K)
    Hitter of the Day - Caleb Hamilton, St. Paul Saints (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI)

    PROSPECT SUMMARY

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, K
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, BB, 2 K
    #3 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - L, 4 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K
    #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4
    #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-2, BB, K
    #11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-1, R, 3 BB
    #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K
    #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-5, K
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-2, 3 BB

    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-1, 4.87 ERA)
    Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Matt Canterino (0-1, 1.62 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (11:05 AM CDT) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 1.69 ERA)
    Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 1.80 ERA)

    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!

     

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    Festa has been pretty consistent all year.  A couple of hits. A run or two and more K's than innings pitched.  However, Six no hit innings while K'ing nearly 2 batters per inning is very impressive stuff. I guess he wanted to take things up a level? This is the first I have heard of him hitting 99 on the gun.  He must have been feeling it last night.  While I could see Festa No hitting the Cardinals I thought Nowlin would for sure give it up. He is giving up more hits than innings pitched to this point and tons of walks as well.  It all came together though for an impressive pitching performance.  Happy for those guys and the legend of Festa continues to grow.

    Headrick just keeps doing his thing Pitching into the 5th with no runs allowed.  It was an off night for him as he only K'd about 1 batter per inning rather than 2, lol.  Camargo has been heating up and had another home run as well.  

    He has been quiet about doing it but Alex Isola bumped his BA to 300 and OPS to 900 at AA.  Pretty nice line for a catcher at AA.  Not sure where his defense is at but he is starting to look like he could make it to MLB at some point.

    Another nice night for the affiliates.

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    Looking at the Saints box score, there aren't any names one would consider big Twins prospects.  I guess they are all with the Twins, or on the Twins IL.

    When I saw that Isola hit another home run, ask myself if he is a legit candidate to be a future Twins starting catcher?  Or maybe backup?  Do any of the guys that know this stuff have a feel of how good he is defensively?

    Headrick and Festa, two more names I am going to remember and begin following.  Will they keep doing well all the way to the Twins?  Or will they peak in A ball?  Sure does seem like the organization has a lot of exciting young pitchers, low-A to AAA (or maybe AA with Winder and Ryan with the Twins).

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    13 minutes ago, MMMordabito said:

    I saw four guys in the picture and only three pitchers in the box score .... Oh, the guy who caught all those pitches, dumbass

    I was wondering how a pitcher got his uniform dirty! I figured he must have hit the ground in the celebration or something. But being a catcher make much more sense! :) 

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    2 hours ago, roger said:

    Looking at the Saints box score, there aren't any names one would consider big Twins prospects.  I guess they are all with the Twins, or on the Twins IL.

    When I saw that Isola hit another home run, ask myself if he is a legit candidate to be a future Twins starting catcher?  Or maybe backup?  Do any of the guys that know this stuff have a feel of how good he is defensively?

    Headrick and Festa, two more names I am going to remember and begin following.  Will they keep doing well all the way to the Twins?  Or will they peak in A ball?  Sure does seem like the organization has a lot of exciting young pitchers, low-A to AAA (or maybe AA with Winder and Ryan with the Twins).

    Yeah, part of me feels bad for St. Paul. They were supposed toget some big prospects last year and they either got hurt or moved up. This year they should have been loaded with prospects, and they're all up. Crazy. 

    I tweeted maybe two weeks ago that I think Isola will play in the big leagues. Solid backstop, good approach at the plate, good power. 

    Headrick and Festa have both been on Twins Spotlight. Festa's been sitting 95-97 all spring... He had a 98.6 in his start last week. He got the 99.1 mph this week. he's exciting. And Headrick is healthy. He's impressive. 

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    3 hours ago, Dman said:

    Festa has been pretty consistent all year.  A couple of hits. A run or two and more K's than innings pitched.  However, Six no hit innings while K'ing nearly 2 batters per inning is very impressive stuff. I guess he wanted to take things up a level?

    Sometimes the light just comes on for a guy.

     

    Addams002.jpg

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    49 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

    I was wondering how a pitcher got his uniform dirty! I figured he must have hit the ground in the celebration or something. But being a catcher make much more sense! :) 

    Good call y'all... I just went to the caption and added the names of the players. 

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    2 hours ago, roger said:

    When I saw that Isola hit another home run, ask myself if he is a legit candidate to be a future Twins starting catcher?  Or maybe backup?  Do any of the guys that know this stuff have a feel of how good he is defensively?

    Seth described him as solid behind the plate in his preseason list.  Fangraphs only had a blurb where they described him as "bat first".  He hasn't appeared on any other lists that I'm aware of.

    He's only thrown out 14% out of 115 base stealers in his minor league career.  That's not very good.  Compare to Jeffers who gets ragged for his arm and threw out 25% in the minors.

    There is obviously so much more to catcher defense than that, but my guess is that it's safe to say he needs to continue working on his defense.

    The bat has been great so far though, with power and plate discipline, so bat-first backup seems like a reasonable possibility right now.

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    Fangraphs describes the Twins as having "loads of catching depth" and lists six prospects among the honorable mentions, meaning not regarded highly enough to be among what they consider to be our top 40 prospects. That feels like good news to me.

    Three of those six prospects are mentioned in today's report: Alex Isola, Jeferson Morales, and Jair Camargo.

    Ironically perhaps, AAA C/1B and Hitter of the  Day Caleb Hamilton didn't make FG's list. Loads of catching depth indeed.

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    5 hours ago, Dman said:

    Festa has been pretty consistent all year.  A couple of hits. A run or two and more K's than innings pitched.  However, Six no hit innings while K'ing nearly 2 batters per inning is very impressive stuff. I guess he wanted to take things up a level? This is the first I have heard of him hitting 99 on the gun.  He must have been feeling it last night.  While I could see Festa No hitting the Cardinals I thought Nowlin would for sure give it up. He is giving up more hits than innings pitched to this point and tons of walks as well.  It all came together though for an impressive pitching performance.  Happy for those guys and the legend of Festa continues to grow.

    Headrick just keeps doing his thing Pitching into the 5th with no runs allowed.  It was an off night for him as only K's about 1 batter per inning rather than 2, lol.  Camargo has been heating up and had another home run as well.  

    He has been quiet about doing it but Alex Isola bumped his BA to 300 and OPS to 900 at AA.  Pretty nice line for a catcher at AA.  Not sure where his defense is at but he is starting to look like he could make it to MLB at some point.

    Another nice night for the affiliates.

    Thanks Dman.

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    Festa was not on my radar. Always happy when a guy not on my radar is throwing mid-to-upper 90's and has an outing like this where he looks untouchable. and it's a sign of a good and deep system when guys like that can't crack the top 20 at the start of the year!

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