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  • Twins Minor League Report (5/25): Cavaco Carries Mussels to Big Win

    Seth Stohs

    St. Paul split a doubleheader. Wallner walloped one for Wichita, but was it enough for a Wind Surge Win? Game 2 of the Kernels-Timber Rattlers series in Cedar Rapids evened the series. Keoni Cavaco muscled Ft. Myers to a big win. See what happened throughout the Twins minor league system on Wednesday. 

    Image courtesy of William Parmeter / Mighty Mussels



    Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. 


    • RHP Joe Ryan was placed on the Covid-IL on Wednesday. LHP Devin Smeltzer was recalled from St. Paul to take his spot. 
    • RHP Chris Vallimont was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles. The Twins had placed him on waivers over the weekend. 

    Game 1 - St. Paul 10, Indianapolis 16 
    Box Score
    Game 2 - St. Paul 5, Indianapolis 3 
    Box Score

    Fair to say that Game 1 did not go as the Saints would have wanted. Jordan Balazovic started and had his struggles again. That said, he gave up just one run over the first three innings. Then came a forgettable fourth frame. Balazovic was charged with four more runs. Tyler Viza came on in relief and allowed two inherited runners to score and four of his own and only got one out. Daniel Gossett got out of that inning, but then he gave up seven runs on seven hits over the final three innings as well. 

    Jermaine Palacios led the Game 1 offense. He went 2-for-4 with his sixth double and four RBI. Cole Sturgeon drove in three runs as well as the Saints tried to come back but were just too far behind. Spencer Steer went 1-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. 

    Game 2 was a lot cleaner, and through four-and-a-half innings, it was a 1-1 ballgame. Royce Lewis’s fifth Saints homer gave the Saints a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth frame. Indianapolis took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Jermaine Palacios and David Banuelos each homered and the Sanits had a 5-3 lead that they held onto. 

    Lewis led the offense, going 3-for-4 with the home run. Mark Contreras went 2-for-3. 


    Chi Chi Gonzalez made the start. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven batters. Wladimir Pinto came on and walked two batters and giving up the tying run before getting an out. Jharel Cotton got the final four outs for the Saints. 

    Wichita 3, Corpus Christi 4 
    Box Score

    The Wind Surge made the incredibly long, 16-hour bus ride to Corpus Christi, but when the game started, they were ready to go. Matt Wallner crushed a three-run homer in the first inning to start things out well. Unfortunately, that was about it for the Surge offense. 


    Simeon Woods Richardson started the game and threw two zeroes on the board before giving up four runs in the third inning. He gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in four innings. He struck out six batters. Ben Gross walked two over 1 1/3 scoreless relief innings. Osiris German got the next five batters out. Alex Scherff struck out two in the final innings. 

    Wind Surge manager Ramon Borrego was ejected for the first time in a game since he’s been with Wichita. 

    Cedar Rapids 1, Wisconsin 5 
    Box Score

    The Kernels took Game 1 of this series on Tuesday night. On Wednesday afternoon, the Timber Rattlers evened the series and returned to just one game back of the Kernels in the divsion. 

    Cade Povich started and worked the first five innings. He gave up a single run in the fifth inning on a Carlos Rodriguez homer. He came back out for the sixth inning but with two runners on, he was replaced by Cody Laweryson who gave up doubles to Wes Clarke and Carlos Rodriguez and Wisconsin had a 5-0 lead. Andrew Cabezas, Ryan Shreve, and Orlando Rodriguez each pitched a scoreless inning. 

    Seth Gray hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to avoid the shutout, but overall, Justin Jarvis and the Timber Rattler pitching staff were in control of this game. The Kernels had just four hits total. In his first at-bat with the Kernels, Patrick Winkel hit a double.   

    Fort Myers 10, Bradenton 2
    Box Score

    Things have not gone smoothly for Keoni Cavaco early in his career, but on Wednesday, he had a terrific game for the Mussels. In the first inning, he hit a two-run double. Then in the fifth inning, he launched a grand slam. Overall, he went 3-for-4 with his eighth double, first home run and six RBI. 


    Noah Miller went 2-for-3 with a walk and his 11th stolen base. He scored three runs. Emmanuel Rodriguez went 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer, his sixth of the season, in the third inning. 


    By the way, thank you to the Bradenton Marauders who are the only team in the Florida Sate League on milb dot tv! 

    Mike Paredes made the start. He gave up two runs on three hits over five innings. He struck out seven batters without a walk. Samuel Perez came on and walked two but struck out three batters over the final two innings before lightning ended the game early. 

    Pitcher of the Day – Mike Paredes (Ft. Myers) - 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K
    Hitter of the Day – Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, 2B, HR/GS, 6 RBI, 1 R. 


    Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed:
    #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, R (Game 1, played SS)
    #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 4-for-4, HR (5), R, RBI. (Game 2, DHd) 
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-4 (played SS)
    #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) -  0-for-0 
    #5 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 3.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (73 pitches, 44 strikes)
    #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K (87 pitches, 52 strikes)
    #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch
    #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-3, BB, HR(6), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K
    #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 2-3, BB, 3 R, SB (11) 
    #16 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul ) - 1-for-2, BB HBP, 2 R (Game 1, played 2B)
    #16 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul ) - 1-for-3 (Game 2, played 3B)
    #17 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (89 pitches, 55 strikes)
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, K
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - IL

    Indianapolis @ St. Paul (7:07 PM CST) - RHP Mario Sanchez (2-1, 4.63 ERA) 
    Wichita @ Corpus Christi (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (0-0, 4.70 ERA)
    Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-2, 2.56 ERA) 
    Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30 PM CST) - TBD 

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


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    Nice to see Keoni making good contact.  Maybe he can turn his season around.  The two 19 year old's are still going strong.  Rodriguez is looking to get his OBP to .500 and OPS to 1.000.  Man he is talented.  High A better find room for him as he is headed there soon.  Probably around draft time if not before.  Miller still getting hits, drawing walks and playing good defense.  Still only lacking power which is pretty normal for the FS league and 19 year old's in general.

    Lewis continues to hit.  I think our concerns about his bat can pretty much be put to rest now.  His bat has been great at AAA and good at the MLB level as well.  Just a matter of finding space for him at the MLB level now.

    High A and AA bats just couldn't get it done but hopefully they come back better tomorrow.

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    Great summary.  Cavaco certainly had a great day at the plate.  Actually, after a dreadful start, he has been making steady progress this year.  His May numbers are much better than his April numbers.  It seems like it is often the case that something just seems to click with some prospects and they take their game up a level.  I am not ready to put him in the Hall of Fame quite yet, but the progress is noteworthy and he is still VERY young.  I love his smile!

    Balazovic still seems a little off and he has not put it all together yet.  He has good stuff, but to my untrained eye, it appears like his ability to locate his pitches varies greatly between innings and even between at bats.  Location.  Location. Location.

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    It's great to see Cavaco finally having some success. He's going to need to sustain it for another month or so before I start getting convinced; he had a brutal start, so his overall numbers still stink and I'm going to turn a skeptical eye on any hitter who Ks 11 times for each walk. He turns 21 in about a week, so he's no longer young for low-A, and really needs to get it going this season.

    Miller is off to a very nice start in his first full season, and it's good to see. I'm less concerned about his relative lack of power; we've seen that being a skill that often develops later, and as noted above the FSL can suppress it to some extent. And when you look at Spencer Steer's development, it suggests that the Twins have the ability to develop that in a hitter. I'm very pleased with his understanding of the strike zone: 30 walks already is really good to see. He's doing a nice job showing off his speed too. Still a long way to go, but it's a fine beginning.

    Rodriguez is something else. He might have to adjust his approach as he advances in level and faces more developed pitchers, but having more walks than Ks at 19 years old is pretty special. He's going to be fascinating to watch. Rosario (don't want to ignore the other 19 year old!) is really struggling so far this season. Hopefully he'll be able to adjust, but he may be finding full-season baseball a little harder and will likely need more time.

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    2 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    The starting pitching depth is looking quite thin right now. Was hoping SWR would just run up the ladder this year to at least be an option. 

    Yeah no overly dominant arms at AAA or AA except maybe Canterino in small doses.  Sands, Henriquez and Balazovich look like AAAA arms right now.  SWR seems ready for another swoon like last year.  Enlow is just getting back. Varland has been OK but not dominant and looks more and more like a pen arm to me. Canterino had control problems early but seems to be getting back to his dominant self but that would be the only arm I trust out of that bunch and they are keeping his number of pitches down so not really a candidate to start IMO.  Things suddenly don't look quite so good for starting pitching help from the farm.

    Hopefully the pitching coaches can identify some issues and help those arms change course.

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    I like that you noted where Martin and Lewis played, Seth.  It's interesting to see what they're trying to do defensively with both.  Lewis looks like he should stick at SS, but I'm interested to see how they're rotating him around the field to get him back up with the Twins.  And it'd be nice to see them settle on a home for Martin, wherever that may be.

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    1 hour ago, Dman said:

    Sands, Henriquez and Balazovich look like AAAA arms right now.

    Sands has been on the injured list for some time and actually hasn't pitched all that much for AAA, Henriquez is only 22 and has thrown only 20 innings so far, so I'm not concerned about him yet. Balazovich is concerning me, even though that's just a small sample size - he's been brutal.

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    Not sure what to make of Balazovic. Maybe they needed to start him in AA ball after he started the season on the injured list.

    Henriquez is another guy who should probably be pitching at AA ball. Still young. 

    Alex Schreff is putting up some decent numbers at AA Wichita. Along with Austin Schulfer, he should make the jump to AAA soon. I also hope the Twins take an AAA look at Bryan Sammons before losing him as a minors free agent.

    Twins signed Hunter Wood. Pitched well for Cleveland, Texas and Tampa Bay.

    Sad to see Vallimont grabbed by the Orioles. You win some, you lose some. And you can't keep everyone.

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    1 hour ago, Danchat said:

    Sands has been on the injured list for some time and actually hasn't pitched all that much for AAA, Henriquez is only 22 and has thrown only 20 innings so far, so I'm not concerned about him yet. Balazovich is concerning me, even though that's just a small sample size - he's been brutal.

    Yeah I still like all three arms to turn things around.  I just don't know that they will do it this year.  Sands looked like an ace his first two times out at AAA and from then on hasn't been the same. Maybe an injury happened earlier than thought?  He looked on the fast track to help at the MLB level but has been poor to mediocre since those first two starts.

    Henriquez came with questions about giving up the long ball and he has continued to give up the long ball.  Also lots of hits and walks.  He is only 22 and they gave him a tough challenge at AAA but again it seems unlikely he will be ready to help this year unless things change pretty quick,

    I don't know what is wrong with Balazovich but it is concerning.  Law and Fangraph's were never real believer's in his stuff.  They felt his long lever's would give him control problems and it is looking more and more like they might be right.  I still think he turns things around but also think it is going to take time.

    Anything can happen it just feels like the odds any of the three helping this year seems remote given the challenges they appear to be facing.

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    Saw some of SWRs start last night.  He walked some guys but he was close to the zone mostly.  Mostly I just noticed the other team running wild against him.  Bechtold has now thrown out 1 of 20 base stealers this year, so I think it's more on him than SWR not being quick enough to the plate.

    I would expect to take some time adjusting to the position, but I would hope he can nab a few guys soon.  Between him and Isola, they are not making it easy for the Wichita pitchers to control the run game. 

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    I said it earlier in the year (too early according to Seth) but Rodriguez needs to be challenged.  He looks like he will be a terrific player and he should be given every chance to succeed.  Like others I am disappointed in Balazovic, but I need to know more before losing faith in him.  By the way I think a guy names Lewis needs to be in the majors.  Where do you play him?

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    Fun games like that will make for great memories Cavaco can look back on when he hangs up the cleats. Now that he's been moved off SS to 3B/DH, I think the book on Cavaco has largely been closed. He's a non-prospect, but I'm certainly not rooting against him.

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    1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

    To be clear, I haven't lost faith in the long run. My comment was about this year, even the next couple months. The depth is not there. 

    Yeah, right now you'd have to probably call up Chi Chi Gonzalez or Dereck Rodriguez, but hopefully Winder will be ready to go sooner than later. I could see Canterino as an option to be a multi-inning guy, I think he could go directly from AA to MLB.

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    Cavaco who? Man, I was wondering what the FO was thinking on that draft day... do another Royce? A lot of experts thought it was a serious reach. I'm still wondering that they saw in the kid, but maybe he's just starting to show it. Good luck to him, no expectations here...

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    Count me as another that is wondering about the pitching pipeline. AAA has be pretty horrible, with a few exceptions, all year. 

    Both STP box score links go to black pages ith the MILB headers only for me. So does the Cedar Rapids link.

    The Witchita and Fort Myers links both go to April 8th games.......

    The highly touted Berrios "haul" isn't looking so great so far...................

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    10 minutes ago, h2oface said:

    Count me as another that is wondering about the pitching pipeline. AAA has be pretty horrible, with a few exceptions, all year. 

    Both STP box score links go to black pages for me. All the others work fine and arrive at the MiLB box score page.

    It's disappointing that Balazovich and Sands haven't looked good and have spent time on the IL, but Winder was expected to be there instead of on the MLB roster the whole year, so I suspect he would have been putting up gaudy numbers there.

    At least we've got SWR, Canterino, and Varland dealing at AA. Enlow should get into the conversation next year.

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