With short-season teams starting play recently, player names and teams can be somewhat overwhelming. When writing about Rookie Ball and the DSL, I can admit to having to click on a player’s name in the box score to remember their first name; you know you’re digging deep when the players don’t have a photo on MiLB.com. But those games are just as important; the Twins of the future have to start humbly, and they’ll make their way to the upper levels with hard work.
The Twins traded veteran infielder Daniel Robertson to the Phillies for Cash considerations. He has been rehabbing with the FCL Twins for the past two-plus weeks.
Previous Week in Review (6/7-6/13): Saints Sweep Red Wings
Tuesday: Alex Kirilloff Does It Again
Wednesday: Rucker walks it off, Varland Double-Header Split Highlight Wednesday in the Twins System
Thursday: Wallner Blasts on Tough Night for Twins Farm
Friday: Cedar Rapids Throws A Shutout, Wichita *is* Shutout
Saturday: Kernels Clinch Division Title, Playoff Berth
Sunday: Walk-off in Cedar Rapids, Saints Blister Bats
MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT
Minnesota Twins 2014 Draft Retrospective: Swings and Misses
TwinsDaily 2022 Draft Coverage, June 16
This season, MLB Fining Parent Clubs for Minor-League Brawls
MONDAY’S SHORT SEASON RESULTS
FCL Twins 11, FCL Orioles 9 (10 innings)
Starting Pitcher: Juan Rojas (4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)
Multi-Hit Games: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Alexander Pena (2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 K), Yonardy Soto (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 K), Jefferson De La Cruz (2-for-4, 2 RBI, K, SB), Ricardo Olivar (3-for-4, RBI)
2B: Alexander Pena (5), Ricardo Olivar (2)
HR: Alexander Pena (2), Yonardy Soto 2 (2), Gregory Duran (1)
Rehab Players: Daniel Robertson (0-for-2, K)
Top Prospects: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Fredy Michel (0-for-6, R, 4 K).
Summary: What a wild and wacky game! Going into the 9th inning, the Twins held a 4-0 lead. They added another run in the top of the 9th to go ahead 5-0, but the Orioles scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. The Twins scored six runs in the top of the inning to take a big league. They gave up four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning and barely held on.
DSL Twins 6, DSL Guardians Blue 14
Starting Pitcher: Jose Betancourt (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)
Multi-Hit Games: Isaac Pena (2-for-3, 2 BB. 2 R, 2 SB), Jose Rodriguez (3-for-4)
WEEK IN REVIEW
Triple-A: St. Paul Saints
Week: 3-3, playing in Columbus
Season: 33-32 overall
The Saints treaded water this week, but sometimes that’s all a team needs to do. The Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate for the Cleveland Guardians, are no pushovers either; they ended the week with a 38-28 season record. These were close affairs; just one run was the difference in five of the six games, including Sunday’s 11-10 thrilling win by the Saints. Manager Toby Gardenhire remained on paternity leave, but the team still gifted him a fine Father’s Day present with his 100th win as St. Paul’s skipper.
- Alex Kirilloff earned his promotion to the Twins on Friday after collecting four more hits this week.
- Kyle Garlick began a rehab assignment on Wednesday. The outfielder is hitting .300 over 21 plate appearances but has also struck out eight times.
- Josh Winder continued his rehab assignment, allowing one run over 3 innings with a strikeout.
- Curtis Terry hit a blistering .368/.429/.842 with a pair of homers and just one strikeout the entire week.
- Michael Helman slashed .400/.455/.600 and captured the most hits on the week for the Saints.
- Spencer Steer returned to orbit as he slashed .179/.200/.321 with 10 strikeouts. Hopefully, this is just a blip on his otherwise outstanding season.
- Recent signee, Aaron Sanchez, struck out six over 7 1/3 IP but also allowed five earned runs, including a pair of homers.
- Jordan Balazovic worked in relief this week, allowing two runs over 2 2/3 innings.
What’s Next? The Saints are off to Buffalo to play in what was technically a major league ballpark for a year and some change.
Pitching Probables (RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Jordan Balazovic, TBD, TBD, TBD)
Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge
Week: 1-6, @ Tulsa
Season: 33-29 overall
Things could have gone better for Wichita. The team has cooled off tremendously, and the result was an ugly 1-6 week, although five of those losses were by one run, so things may not be as bad as they seem.
- Matt Wallner obliterated the ball and walked away with a hilarious .313/.621/.750 slash line. Even more impressive, he walked more than he struck out (11 to eight).
- Edouard Julien did well also, hitting .280/.400/.560 with a pair of homers.
- Casey Legumina carried the torch on the mound, allowing only three earned runs over 10 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts.
- Daniel Gossett impressed in his first start with Wichita, tossing five shutout innings.
- Sawyer Gipson-Long finally earned a promotion to AA but was touched up for five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. Let’s hope he can brush that off and find his footing with the Wind Surge.
- Andrew Cabezas threw four shutout innings in relief this week, striking out six while allowing just one hit.
What’s Next? Wichita returns home to host the San Antonio Missions. Hopefully, some home cooking will help get them back on track.
High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels
Week: 4-2, hosting Dayton
Season: 41-22 overall
The Kernels were one of the teams that clinched a playoff spot this week. The team’s win on Saturday secured the first-half division crown, and the team can rest easy knowing that they will have a spot reserved for them in the post-season. In the meantime, there are ballgames to win.
- Yunior Severino smoked the ball all week, picking up seven hits, including two homers with eight RBIs.
- Alerick Soularie continued his season turn-around, hitting .368/.478/.632 with a pair of stolen bases.
- Cody Laweryson spearheaded the pitching effort with 5 2/3 scoreless innings and an incredible 11 strikeouts.
- Cade Povich wasn’t far behind, as he punched out 11 over 5 innings in his lone start of the week.
- Aaron Rozek walked away from this week unscathed, as he pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings as part of Cedar Rapids’ shutout on Friday.
What’s Next? The Kernels will remain at home and host the West Michigan Whitecaps.
Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
Season: 39-22 overall
The Mighty Mussels were the other team that clinched a playoff spot this week. Their win on Wednesday ensured that no team in their division could catch them, and their spot in the post-season is now set in stone.
- Rubel Cespedes burst out of nowhere and dropped nine hits in just 17 at-bats.
- Kala’i Rosario launched a pair of homers while slugging .857 overall for the week.
- Luis Baez hit a scorching .500/.579/.563 while striking out as often as he walked (three to three)
- Noah Miller had just two hits but also walked five times
- Matt Mullenbach was elite in relief, punching out eight over 5 ⅓ innings devoid of an earned run
- Malik Barrington followed suit as he tossed 3 shutout innings with six strikeouts.
- Jordan Carr allowed one earned run in his 5-inning start
What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head out to Lakeland to take on the Flying Tigers
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Hitter of the Week: OF Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge
Matt Wallner might be turning a corner. The hometown talent has always been a slugger—power was never a question—but this week, he showed off an incredible talent for OBP on top of his already legendary ball-crushing ability. His eight strikeouts were still a touch high, but it feels nitpicky to call out when he walked 11 times while slugging .750. His OBP for the week starts with a .6. Enough said.
At 24 years old, Wallner appears to be rounding into form at the right time. The lefty battled an assortment of injuries over his first few years in the minors—a bruise here and a nick there—and they added up to sap Wallner of consistency. His power kept him afloat, despite many (including I) questioning whether he could offset the large strikeout totals he racked up.
Those strikeouts may never go away, but figuring out how to walk a bunch is an excellent way to even them out. His OBP on the year sits at a massive .408, thanks partly to a (probably) surprising batting average of .270. And, in case you weren’t convinced that his game is more well-rounded than before, he’s even stolen eight bases. It’s hard to see Wallner staying at AA for much longer.
Pitcher of the Week: RHP Cody Laweryson, Cedar Rapids Kernels
It’s rare to see a reliever win this distinction, but when you have the kind of week Cody Laweryson had, it’s easy to hand it to him. Laweryson made two relief outings; on June 14th, he struck out six over 3 ⅓ scoreless innings, while on June 17th, he struck out five over 2 ⅓ scoreless innings. That’ll play.
Laweryson is under the radar, if not entirely off the grid, but that might not be fair to his ability. The righty made noise in 2019 by dominating Rookie-Ball as a 20-year-old, culminating in a monster 15 strikeout performance on August 26th of that season. His road has been bumpier since that breakout, but he could have a nice niche as a long reliever out of the bullpen. Given the breakdown of pitching barriers, that role can be valuable to a team.
For a scouting report, Eric Longenhagen described him as a “How the hell is this guy doing this?” style of pitcher, sitting 89 MPH and crushing his competition with it. We’ve seen that work for Joe Ryan; perhaps it will serve Laweryson also.