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  • Twins Minor League Report (8/23): Tough Sledding Tuesday

    Steve Lein

    Hits were hard to come by on Tuesday for Minnesota Twins affiliates, much like their major-league team's efforts against the immortal Justin Verlander in Houston. This means it was 0-fer night for the organization. But a slugger in Triple-A went yard again, Randy Dobnak made a rehab appearance, and another pitcher set a career-high in strikeouts.

    Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints


    • LHP Devin Smeltzer was optioned back to St. Paul, with Aaron Sanchez being added to the Twins roster in his place. To make room on the 40-man roster, Alex Kirilloff was placed on the 60-Day IL.
    • Caleb Hamilton was also recalled as Byron Buxton was placed on the 10-day IL.
    • After two appearances in the FCL, RHP Randy Dobnak was sent to the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels to continue his rehab assignment.
    • The Wichita Wind Surge sent RHP Tyler Beck on a rehab assignment to the FCL.
    • RHP Sean Mooney was activated from the IL with Cedar Rapids.

    St. Paul 1, Iowa 7
    Box Score

    The Saints were unable to muster much offense on Tuesday, falling 7-1 to the Cubs down in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Their lone run came in the sixth inning, courtesy of Chris Williams’ sixth home run in just 10 games with the Saints. It came on a fastball from Iowa reliever Danis Correa, who was hitting 100 MPH+ frequently (this one was 98), and was sent out to deep to dead center field.

    Saints hitters struck out thirteen times in the game, while drawing just three walks, so there weren’t many opportunities. As a team they were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, but that lone hit did not drive in any runs, and they left just five men on base. Braden Bishop added a double, while Matt Wallner, Mark Contreras, and David Banuelos picked up the other three hits.

    Dereck Rodriguez made the start and had to work for his five innings. He allowed four runs on seven hits, with the Cubs scoring a run in three of those innings. He also struck out seven compared to two walks. Jake Jewell threw two innings in relief, allowing three runs (two earned) on one hit and two walks, while striking out one. Austin Schulfer finished the game with a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.

    Wichita 3, Frisco 4 (10 innings)
    Box Score

    Making the start for the Wind Surge was lefty Brent Headrick, and he was able to limit damage over his four innings. He allowed two runs on four hits and a pair of walks, while striking out eight RoughRiders.

    He left the game with the score tied at two, as Wichita was able to scratch across a run in each of the third and fourth innings. In the third Austin Martin was hit by a pitch, then proceeded to steal his 30th base of the season to move into scoring position. A passed ball put him on third before Aaron Sabato was able to bring him in with a sac fly. Alex Isola led off the fourth with a double and moved to third on a Jair Camargo single, but again a sac fly was all they could manage, with Yunior Severino driving in the run this time.

    They took a 3-2 lead in the sixth on an RBI single from Isola, driving in Edouard Julien who had drawn a walk to lead off the inning.

    Relievers Andrew Cabezas (1 2/3 IP, BB), Bryan Sammons (1 IP, BB, 2 K), and Blayne Enlow (1 1/3 IP, 2 H, K) did their best to keep the Wind Surge in the lead, but Casey Legumina wasn’t as fortunate in the ninth. A single and walk put the winning run on base before he picked up a pair of strikeouts, but an RBI single would follow to tie the game and send it to extra innings.

    The Wind Surge went down one-two-three in the top of the tenth, and with Denny Bentley coming on the RoughRiders wasted no time, as the first batter clubbed a double down the line to walk it off.

    Isola was 2-for-4 with a double, run scored, and RBI to pace the offense. Severino chipped in a double, and although they didn’t get a hit, Martin and Julien did combine to draw five walks and steal four bases from the top of the lineup. 

    Cedar Rapids 5, Lake County 7
    Box Score

    Kernels starting pitcher Travis Adams set a career high in strikeouts in this one, picking up 11 in five innings, but still was saddled with a loss against the Captains. All three runs he allowed came in the second inning as the Captains strung together two singles and three doubles. He struck out multiple hitters in each frame, including all three outs in the first inning. Of his 81 pitches, 55 went for strikes (68%) and 19 of them were swinging.

    The Captains extended their lead to 6-0 in the sixth, as Tyler Palm (1/3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, K) was unable to keep runners off the bases. Matthew Swain came on to strike out two to end that threat, but allowed a run of his own in the seventh. All five of his outs came on K’s.

    Cedar Rapids was able to get on the scoreboard in the seventh when Lake County’s bullpen came into play. Pat Winkel clubbed a solo home run that was followed by a two-run shot from Dalton Shuffield two batters later. They closed the gap to 7-5 in the top of the ninth with an RBI groundout from Brooks Lee and sac fly from Jake Rucker, but Seth Gray would go down swinging to end the game.

    Jon Olsen finished the game for the Kernels by striking out two and walking one in a scoreless eighth.

    Shuffield reached base in all four of his plate appearances, leading the way with a 3-for-3 effort, drawing a walk, scoring two runs and driving in two with his first full-season homer. Lee was 1-for-4 with a double and drew a walk.

    Lakeland 4, Fort Myers 2
    Box Score

    Right-hander Randy Dobnak continued his trek through a rehab assignment, this time coming with the Mighty Mussels instead of in the FCL. He pitched the first two innings, allowing a double in the second, but nothing else. He threw just 20 pitches, needing 10 in each inning to record three outs.

    His offense gave him a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Misael Urbina and Noah Miller drew walks to start the frame, before Noah Cardenas drove in one with a single. They’d retake the lead 2-1 in the third when Cardenas hit a one-out double, and was driven in by a single from Keoni Cavaco two batters later.

    After Dobnak’s appearance, the game was turned over to Jordan Carr who went the next five innings. He took his first loss of the year, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits and a walk. He struck out four. Niklas Rimmel threw two scoreless frames to finish the game, allowing one hit, walking one, and striking out one.

    The Mighty Mussels offense wasn’t able to muster much from the fourth inning onward. They collected just five hits as a team, led by a three-hit effort from Cardenas, who also drew a walk. As a team they did work eight free passes, but finished just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 men on base for the game.

    FCL Twins 0, FCL Red Sox 4
    Box Score

    The Twins did not record a hit until there were two outs in the eighth inning, so not much to recap from that perspective. Andres Centeno and Isaac Pena collected singles. As a team, they struck out 17 times, walked just once, and had only two at-bats in the game with runners in scoring position.

    Starting pitcher Brock Stewart threw two innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits while striking out two, and after that six other pitchers made appearances in the game. Michael Boyle struck out two in two scoreless innings. Tyler Beck pitched a scoreless fifth inning, striking out one, and then Rafael Feliz a scoreless sixth with two punch outs. Brayan Medina came on for the seventh but got just two outs, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks. Elpidio Perez got the final out of the seventh before Danny Moreno finished off the game with a scoreless eighth, striking out one.

    Game 1: DSL Twins 0, DSL Giants Black 1 (Completion of game suspended on July 21, 7 innings)
    Box Score

    The first game of the day for the DSL Twins was the completion of a game that was suspended a month ago. 

    The Twins outhit the Giants 6-to-4 in this one, but the big hit came for the Giants in the fifth inning, when a triple scored the only run of the game. The Twins had threats in multiple innings but weren’t able to push a run across. Daniel Pena contributed a double to the effort, but that was the only extra-base hit for the good guys. As a team they were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.

    On the flip side, the pitching was excellent, with Roger Duran functioning as an opener, walking one and striking out one in the first. DSL standout Miguel Olivares then pitched the final five innings, allowing just one run on four hits, while striking out six. His ERA is 1.59 on the season, with a WHIP below 1.00, and 54 K’s on the year in 50 innings pitched.

    Game 2: DSL Twins 3, DSL Giants Black 6 (7 innings)
    Box Score

    In their regularly scheduled contest, the Twins were able to take a 3-0 lead into the fifth, but a big inning from the Giants would end up sinking them.

    In the second inning, the Twins loaded the bases for Luis Rodriguez, who delivered a two-run double for their first lead. In the fourth, it was a pair of singles that put a runner on third, before Jesus Peraza delivered a sac fly to make the score 3-0.

    Starter Oscar Paredes went the first three innings for the Twins, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out two. Eider Machuca pitched a scoreless fourth, before Leonardo Lugo (0 IP, H, 4 ER) and Jeferson Lopez (1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 K) lost control of it in the fifth. If you think the pitching line for Lugo looks odd, it’s because it is. He hit three batters and allowed a double before Lopez was brought on. Jose Ojo finished off the game for the Twins with a scoreless sixth inning.

    Junior Marino led the lineup with three hits in three at-bats, stealing a base and scoring a run as well. Junior Del Valle added a single, reached on an error, and scored two runs. Anderson Nova contributed a double.

    Pitcher of the Day - Miguel Olivares, DSL Twins (5 IP, 4 H, ER, 6 K)
    Hitter of the Day - Dalton Shuffield, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-for-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB)

    #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, RBI, BB, K
    #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-2, R, 2 BB, K, 3 SB
    #7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, BB, 3 K
    #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, 2 K
    #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-for-2, R, 3 BB, K, SB
    #17 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 K (left game after being hit by a liner)
    #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, BB, K
    #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, BB, 2 K

    St. Paul @ Iowal (12:08 PM CDT) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-5, 9.26 ERA)
    Wichita @ Frisco (7:05 PM CDT) - TBD
    Cedar Rapids @ Lake County (5:35 PM CDT) - RHP Orlando Rodriguez (3-1, 3.20 ERA)
    Lakeland @ Fort Myers (Game 1: 3:30 PM CDT) - TBD
    Fort Myers @ Lakeland (Game 2, makeup of June 25th PPD) - TBD

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


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    1 hour ago, RJA said:

    I would like to see Williams get a shot with the Twins.  He strikes out a bit (who doesn't these days), but he gets walks, has a decent BA, and has hit 24 homers.  He certainly can't do any worse than Cave and Sanchez, and he has some position flexibility.

    By positional flexibility do you mean that he's a bad defender at more than one position? Looks like another Brent Rooker.

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    Are they bringing up Hamilton so that we can end the Leon and Sanchez experiment? Hamilton is 27 so let's make it or break it this year for him. I know it doesn't do anything for the Buxton situation, but we are just running out of outfielders. I would have sent down Cave and Beckham and just tried anybody. The two of them have flopped terribly in there audition.

    I'm of the belief that promoted from double a is fine we don't need to wait for AAA breakout. At this point just bring up the best athletes we've got

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    Man, I'd forgotten Dobnak was still with the franchise. Tough break for him, injuries really derailed his chances. 

    It's great to see Martin swiping bases. he could be a real threat as a leadoff man with his on-base skills and ability to get steals, but he really needs to find a little more pop in his bat. Hopefully he finishes the year strong after missing a big chunk of time with an injury. He's going to really tumble in the prospect rankings after this season (unless he really goes nuts the last few weeks, and even then he's going to drop), but it doesn't mean he can't figure it out and be a quality player. Look at Nick Gordon: high draft pick, started out as a highly rated prospect, and then tumbled off the rankings while battling injuries. but he got healthy, kept working, kept developing and has seized his chance this year to be a real asset. Positional flexibility plus a hit tool means a lot. It'll be interesting to see if Martin starts to really grind for it and can make the adjustments to build himself back up after hitting a significant bump in his path.

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    It might be a good time to see if Julian can play a decent left field. its doubtful he'll get much play at second base for the Twins. The way the team is hitting and with the players coming up, they may be a more on-base and steal type of team. Waiting for the three run homer doesn't seem to be in the cards.

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