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    roger reacted to Steve Lein for an article, Twins Minor League Report (8/10): Balazovic Gets Back on Track   
    Keep reading to find out how all your favorite Minnesota Twins prospects fared in Tuesday nights series opening action!
    TRANSACTIONS
    The Minnesota Twins selected the contract of 35-year old RHP Nick Vincent from the St. Paul Saints, and optioned RHP Beau Burrows back to triple-A. St. Paul released 1B Roberto Pena and RHP Rob Whalen, while calling up LHP Chris Nunn from Wichita and activating RHP Joe Ryan, fresh off his stint with the United States Olympic team. In double-A, the Wind Surge released RHP Joe Kuzia and activated RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, also recently returned from the Olympics in Tokyo. SAINTS SENTINEL
    St. Paul 8, Indianapolis 9
    Box Score
    St. Paul and Indianapolis traded leads a few times on Tuesday with big innings, but the Saints came out on the losing end with two-outs in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a walk-off blast.
    Starting for the Saints was left-hander Andrew Albers, and while he finished five frames, one of those big innings for Indy was the fifth, where they scored five to take a 7-4 lead. In all, Albers allowed seven runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out four on the game. 
    After Indianapolis took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third thanks to a home run, St. Paul answered with a three-run top of the fourth behind back-to-back jacks from Gilberto Celestino and Ben Rortvedt. Celestino’s was of the two-run variety to tie the game. Nick Gordon added an RBI single in the fourth to give the good guys a 4-2 lead before the big five-run inning for the bad guys.
    The recently claimed Ralph Garza Jr. also made his second appearance with the organization to start the sixth inning and went two scoreless frames. He hit one batter and struck out two.
    The Saints offense tied the game at seven in the seventh inning with another three-run frame. Three straight singles from JT Riddle, Jose Miranda, and Nick Gordon plated the first run of the inning. That was followed by a hit-batter to load the bases, then a walk to Celestino and another hit batter to score the other two runs. St. Paul took the lead 8-7 in the eighth frame thanks to a Tomas Telis RBI single.
    Yennier Cano was summoned from the bullpen to start the eighth inning and recorded five outs, including three strikeouts, until major leaguer Michael Chavis stepped to the plate with a runner on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Chavis didn’t miss the first pitch he saw, sending a middle-out fastball over the fence in left-center for the walk-off win. Cano was charged with the blown save and loss in allowing the two runs on three hits and two walks in his 1 2/3 innings pitched.
    The Saints got multiple hits on the night from six hitters in their lineup, including Miranda (2-for-5, R, K), Gordon (2-for-5, R, RBI, 2 K, SB), Telis (2-for-5, R, RBI), Celestino (2-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, K), Drew Maggi (2-for-4, 2B, BB, SB), and Riddle (2-for-4, 3 R, 2B).
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wichita 5, Tulsa 1
    Box Score
    Coming off a pair of outings where he allowed six earned runs in each, starting pitching Jordan Balazovic was looking to get back on track like he’d been when he delivered 25 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings earlier in the year.
    Mission accomplished.
    Balazovic started a new streak with six shutout innings, scattering five singles and zero walks, along with punching out four Drillers. He finished his game after 87 pitches, with 59 going for strikes (67.8%), including thirteen swinging. He was up to 97 MPH on the radar gun with his fastball during the game in picking up his fourth win of the season. After a pair of singles in the first, he faced one batter over the minimum through the fifth inning, retiring six men in a row before an error in the third, and then seven in a row after a leadoff single in the fourth.
    The Wind Surge offense spotted Balazovic a nice lead before he even took the mound, when cleanup hitter Trey Cabbage clubbed 19th home run of the season (10th in double-A) in the top of first, a three-run shot that left the stadium.
    That was it for the offenses on both teams until the late innings, when Wichita added a couple of insurance runs thanks to an errant throw on a steal attempt in the seventh, and an Ernie De La Trinidad solo home run in the ninth.
    Jason Garcia was the first man out of the bullpen to start the seventh, but recorded only one out before being lifted as he loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter. Jordan Gore escaped that jam by inducing a double play ball to end the inning with the shutout still intact. Back out for the eighth, the Drillers finally got on the board with a solo homer, but Gore also struck out two in the frame.
    Erik Manoah Jr. came on in the ninth for his Double-A and Wichita debut and delivered a scoreless frame. He gave up one walk and struck out two.
    While there were no hitters to collect more than one hit in the game, there were five different batters who scored a run for the Wind Surge and four who reached base twice via a walk or hit-by-pitch (Austin Martin, Roy Morales, Cabbage, Aaron Whitefield). Spencer Steer added a double to the effort and Whitefield stole his 22nd base of the season.
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 2, Peoria 7
    Box Score
    The Kernels offense was outhit 10-3 by the Chiefs in this one, and the final scoreboard reflected that disparity.
    Starter Tyler Watson was roughed up in the third inning for five earned runs before his night came to an early end with one out. In 2 1/3 innings, he allowed six hits, walked two, and struck out four. Andrew Cabezas came on from the bullpen and allowed two inherited runners to score in addition to one of his own in the fourth to put Peoria out front 6-1 after four innings. Cabezas allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out two in 1 2/3 innings.
    Relievers Melvi Acosta and Tyler Palm then steadied the ship for the final four innings. Acosta allowed one hit and struck out one in his two frames, and Palm surrendered an unearned run on one hit while striking out four Chiefs in his two innings.
    Edouard Julien (single), Yunior Severino (home run), and Matt Wallner (double) accounted for the Kernels three hits. Wallner drove in the other Kernels run. As a team they managed just three at-bats with runners in scoring position on the game and left only three men on base. Julien also stole his fifth base with the Kernels, and 26th on the season. Julien also drew a walk and continues to lead the minors in that category this season.
    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 5, Bradenton 8
    Box Score
    The Mighty Mussels built a 5-0 lead after the top of the sixth inning behind a slugger who has been struggling most of the year, but the rest of the lineup and bullpen was unable to hold it on Tuesday.
    Starter Sean Mooney was fantastic for the first three innings in this one, allowing no hits and striking out six Marauders. He was extremely efficient as well, throwing just 38 pitches, with 29 going for strikes and falling behind in a count only once among the nine batters he faced.
    In the top of the fourth, Aaron Sabato got Fort Myers on the board with his seventh home run of the season, a solo shot to open the game’s scoring. He added another home run in the sixth, this one of the two-run variety, to extend the Mussels lead to 5-0. Misael Urbina drove in two others earlier in the inning with his eighth double of the season. Unfortunately, the offense had just one other hit on the game, a single from Will Holland. The team had just three at-bats with runners in scoring position in the game and drew only two walks. Not much you can do beyond home runs when other opportunities never surface.
    The bullpen duo of Orlando Rodriguez (2 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, 4 K) and Matthew Swain (1 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, K) combined to allow eight runs in the sixth and seventh innings that put the game well out of reach. Denny Bentley finished off the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing four hits but being charged with no runs. He walked one and struck out one as the Mussels fell to the team in front of them in the standings by 5.0 games.
    COMPLEX CHRONICLES
    FCL Twins 2, FCL Braves 3
    Box Score
    The Twins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to consecutive walks to start the game that were followed by a balk, a Wander Valdez RBI single, and a successful double-steal attempt. Unfortunately for the offense they were unable to scratch any more runs across the plate the rest of the game.
    Valdez (2-for-4, RBI, K) collected two of the team's five hits, Argenis Jiminez had the only extra-base-hit with a triple, and Alerick Soularie drew two walks out of the leadoff spot, but also struck out three times. As a team they were just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, left seven men on base, and struck out 18 times.
    Left-hander Wilker Reyes made the start for the Twins and went the first four innings. He scattered six hits and allowed two earned runs while striking out four batters. Matt Mullenbach came on for the next three innings and kept the game tied, surrendering two hits while also striking out four Braves. Ramon Pineda finished the game with two-plus innings, but allowed the Braves to easily get the winning run in the 10th inning after a pair of wild pitches to the leadoff man. He gave up one hit, walked one, and struck out three in taking the loss.
    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Pitcher of the Day - Jordan Balazovic, Wichita Wind Surge (W, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)
    Hitter of the Day - Aaron Sabato, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, K)
    PROSPECT SUMMARY

    #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
    #2 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain)
    #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - W, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
    #4 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain)
    #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, R, K
    #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, 3 K
    #7 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, K
    #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List 
    #9 - Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, K
    #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, K
    #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
    #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) - Did not pitch
    #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #14 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, K
    #15 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI
    #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2B
    #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 3 K
    #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) - 0-for-3, R, BB, 3 K
    #19 - Edwar Colina (rehab) - Injured List (elbow)
    #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05PM CST) - RHP Drew Strotman (7-3, 3.59 ERA)
    Wichita @ Tulsa (7:05PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (2-4, 7.18 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35PM CST) - RHP Ben Gross (4-1, 3.27 ERA)
    Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) - RHP Landon Leach (0-1, 4.85 ERA)
    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
     
  2. Like
    roger reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Experts: Naming Five Twins Starters Right Now 'Pretty Good'   
    When the Twins opened a 4-game series versus the Houston Astros on Thursday, the lineup was markedly different from their brief 2020 playoff series. No Nelson Cruz, no Jose Berrios, and a lot of "wait, who's that again?" Experts say that reaction is nothing to be concerned about.
    "I had season tickets in 2000," said Tyler Bouman, a Forest Lake IT specialist. "Some of the guys who would end up doing things were there, like (Corey) Koskie or Jacque Jones. But if you had asked me who was playing second base at any point in the season I would have had no idea. Jay Canizaro played over 100 games. I had to look that up. Honestly, Baseball Reference might be messing with me. There's no way that can be right."
    [EDITOR'S NOTE: Canizaro played 102 games. Jason Maxwell played 64. Twins Daily has not been able to confirm if these are real people. Baseball Reference could not be reached for comment.]
    The lost season makes it very difficult for casual fans to keep up with a lineup in transition, but authorities like Bouman say it really separates o the diehards from the casual fans.
    "OK, look at tonight's game," said Bouman. "The odds of you guessing more than one outfielder is astronomical. Maybe you'd pull Trevor Larnach if you were on your toes. Maybe. After that you'd be throwing darts. If someone told you on Opening Day that we'd be rolling with Larnach, Brent Rooker, and Rob Refsnyder on August 5th you'd punch them in their filthy, lying mouth. And yet, here we are."
    Jon Marthaler, a Falcon Heights-based expert on sports-derived frustration and boundless rage, says that guessing five of nine starters in any Twins game going forward is incredibly impressive.
    "Kids are going back to school, so they'll be distracted," said Marthaler. "Their parents are dealing with that and COVID and any number of things. How are they to know that Griffin Jax is an every-fifth-day starting pitcher? He sounds like a law firm that will help you with your mesothelioma settlement. Josh Donaldson's calf might turn to wet Grape Nuts at any moment. Correctly naming five of nine starters is frankly astonishing. I include Rocco Baldelli in this."
  3. Sad
    roger reacted to Matthew Lenz for an article, Potential Trade Packages for José Berríos   
    The last article generated some good discourse on this topic and really showed that fans really are split on this topic. Some are wondering if it’s a panic move based on two months of data while others are wondering who would replace Berríos in the rotation if he were traded? In Matthew Taylor’s article, which was the inspiration for my articles on this topic, he is of the ilk that the last two months show the Twins aren’t in that window to compete for a World Series this year or next. He doesn’t believe a complete rebuild is necessary, as the Twins boast one of the best farm systems in baseball, and thinks the window is just shifted to 2023 and beyond. On the other hand, I’ve just lost the faith in Berríos to take that next step to be a frontline starter but, with one-and-a-half years of team control remaining and being on the younger side, I think a team would “pay up” for that potential that many Twins fans thinks he still has. If the Twins were to hold him and look to sign an extension, I’d want it to be no more than $15MM AAV over a two or three years but even the top end of that feels too rich for me. If we were to move on from Berríos this year and think that we will compete in 2022, then there are about a dozen free agents options that I think would sufficiently replace him but that sounds like an article for another day. I think one thing that we need to be reminded of is that this informal series that Matthew and I have created wasn’t just a spur of the moment, “panic” decision.
    To be fair, this sounds more like speculation than an actual report but it comes from a legitimate journalist who’s been tied to Major League Baseball since the early 2000’s. Even if it’s speculation, he’s been through enough seasons and trade deadlines to have an idea on how the trade market could come together in the coming months. In particular, he mentioned the Blue Jays as a potential suitor but I also think the Braves and Yankees are two other teams who have the offense for a postseason run while needing some rotation help, and have the farm system necessary to add an impact starter. Looking at the Twins farm system and young talent already in the Majors, I think the biggest needs for the Twins would be a pitching prospect, ideally left-handed, and/or a prospect who could play third base who can help within the next couple of seasons. Theoretically, the Twins could probably piece together a second base/shortstop/third base puzzle that included Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, Nick Gordon, Royce Lewis, and even Keoni Cavaco over the next few seasons but they really don’t  have a true third base prospect in their system. Based on my previous article, I don’t think the Twins will net a top-100 prospect for Berríos alone and would likely need to add another piece to sweeten the deal whether that be cash, a rent-a-reliever (i.e. Hansel Robles or Alex Colomé), or a position player (i.e. Kepler with the emergence of Larnach and Kirilloff). Without further ado, here are the players I would be targeting a Berríos deal.
    Toronto Blue Jays (24-23, 4th in AL East, 39.3% chance to make the playoffs, per FanGraphs)
    The Jays farm system is stacked and they have one of the best offenses in baseball that needs to be supplemented with some pitching help in both their rotation and bullpen. If I were to put together a deal involving Berríos and one of our rent-a-relievers, I would be targeting the following:
    Simeon Woods-Richardson - RHP prospect known more for his command of the zone than being a power pitcher Jordan Groshans - a SS/3B prospect with a good bat who needs another season or two in the minors Alek Manoah - RHP prospect with a big arm that needs to improve control I’m more interested in the top two than Manoah and, of course, he’s coming off a fantastic MLB debut. They might be pressed to move on from Groshans as they don’t have any other future options at third with Vladimir Guerror Jr moving to 1st but, if the Twins are sellers, they’ll have the assets to net him and Woods-Richardson.
    Atlanta Braves (24-25, 2nd in the NL East, 36.1% chance to make the playoffs)
    Like the Blue Jays, the Braves have the offense to contend but really need help in their rotation and bullpen making them a good match if the Twins are sellers. Moreover, they have one of the better farm systems in baseball making it plausible they’d be willing to move things around to make a push in the second half of the season. I would target the following:
    Braden Shewmake - 2B/SS prospect projects as a good contact hitter with good speed and a good glove, but not great skills. Tucker Davidson - LHP prospect who projects to be good, not great, with a plus fastball but needs to work on improving his offspeed. Kyle Muller - hard throwing LHP prospect with plus pitches but struggles with control which will likely be a deciding factor in how his career plays out. As I mentioned earlier, the Twins are chalked full with young middle infield options but when Shewmake was drafted (2019, 1st round) some thought his long-term outlook was at 3rd base, although he’s played exclusively at short in the Braves system. Of the two lefties, which is a need for the Twins, Muller has the higher ceiling while Davidson has the higher floor and has also made two appearances for the Braves over the last two seasons.
    New York Yankees (28-20, 1st in the AL East, 87.0% chance to make the playoffs)
    The Yankees starting rotation has been better than most would have thought but just lost Corey Kluber for at least two months to a shoulder injury, and I don’t think they have the reinforcements that can be relied on in 2021. I would target the following:
    Luis Medina - hard throwing RHP prospect who really needs to work on control. Probably needs at least one or two more seasons in the minors. I didn’t even mention higher ranked RHP prospects like Clarke Schmidt who has already had Tommy John surgery and multiple issues with his elbow, Luis Gil or Deivi Garcia who don’t move the needle for me. On the other hand, Medina would be an intriguing project that has the potential to be better than Berríos but also has the floor where he’s a non-factor. Outside of Jasson “the next Mike Trout” Dominguez, they don’t have the farm system to acquire a big-time arm (i.e. Max Scherzer) midseason, so a mid level starter like Berríos is probably more realistic.
    I wouldn’t be overly concerned with our lack of 3rd base prospects and would be targeting pitchers as the headliner in a trade involving Berríos, as you can never have enough pitching. Furthermore, I think finding a team like the Blue Jays or Braves that need help in the rotation and bullpen could really help a better prospect by creating a bigger package of immediate contributors to potential playoff teams.
    What are your thoughts on some of the names in this article? There are undoubtedly more teams that would be interested in Berríos...do you have a certain team or prospect in mind you’d like to see the Twins acquire?
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  4. Like
    roger reacted to Cody Christie for an article, 3 Twins Prospects That Have Stood Out So Far   
    Keoni Cavaco, SS (Low-A)
    Cavaco was a player that had shot up draft boards when the Twins drafted him back in 2019. He didn’t make many appearances at the big prep events leading into the draft and so there were questions about how he would fare against tougher professional competition. His first professional season fed into those concerns as he hit .172/.217/.253 (.470) with 35 strikeouts in 87 at-bats. As an 18-year-old, he looked overmatched and missing development time last year only added more questions.
    He has started the 2021 season on a rampage at Low-A as he entered play on Thursday hitting .355/.444/.516 (.916) with three extra-base hits in 31 at-bats. He is still striking out in over 22% of his at-bats, but he seems more than comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. Cavaco is over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and he has faced older pitchers in 86% of his plate appearances.
    Yennier Cano, RHP (Double-A)
    Cano was a late signing back in the 2019 international signing period as they inked him to a $750,000 bonus. At the time, MLB.com had him ranked as the second-best international prospect in his class. When he signed, he was 25-years old, which is old for a prospect, but that also means he came with plenty of professional experience. He joined the Twins with five different pitches and the ability to pitch multiple innings each time out.
    Now, Cano is 27-years old and pitching out of Wichita’s bullpen. So far this year, he has posted a 1.59 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP. Those numbers are great, but his strikeout numbers are what truly make him standout. He has struck out 11 of the 24 batters he has faced for a 17.5 SO/9. He’s old for his current level, but he has only pitched 15 innings since signing with the Twins. Look for him to move quickly if he continues to strikeout batters at a high rate.
    Melvi Acosta, RHP (High-A)
    Acosta is entering his fifth professional season after joining the Twins as an international signee out of Venezuela in 2015. During the 2019 season, he split time as a starter and reliever. There were some positive signs in his transition to the bullpen as he saw his strikeout rate improve from 5.8 SO/9 to 9.9 SO/9. The 2020 season would have allowed him to prove that he was a potential weapon out of the bullpen, but that obviously didn’t happen.
    Fast-forward to 2021 and Acosta will get the opportunity to pitch out of the bullpen on a regular basis. He’s made three appearances for Cedar Rapids and posted a 1.42 ERA with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate (9.9 SO/9) has continued to stay high, and batters are having a tough time reaching base against him as he’s posted a 0.79 WHIP. Like Cano, he is old for his level, but maybe he will have the opportunity to follow in Cano’s footsteps as he moves up the organizational ladder.
    What prospects have stood out to you so far this year? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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