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  1. Minnesota selected Rodríguez with a sixth-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft out of high school in Florida. At the time, the organization drafted him as an outfielder, and that’s where he started his professional career. From 2011-2013, he played regularly as an outfielder in the rookie leagues while hitting .216/.279/.336 (.615) in 129 games. Rodríguez was a good athlete with a big arm, so the organization shifted him to the mound. He spent all of 2014 with Elizabethton and posted a 1.05 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP. All of his appearances were from the bullpen, and he combined for a 19 to 8 strikeout to walk ratio in 25 2/3 innings. During the 2015 seasons, he pitched as a starter at three different levels and reached High-A by posting a 3.35 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 75 1/3 innings. Over the next two seasons, he continued to move up the ladder and finished the 2017 season at the Double-A level. Rodríguez was making improvements, but now another team took notice. Because he started his pro career as an outfielder, Minnesota lost organizational control of Rodríguez following the 2017 season. He quickly signed with the San Francisco Giants as a minor league free agent. He began the next season at Triple-A, where he posted a 3.40 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP with 53 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings over nine starts before making his big-league debut. His rookie campaign made it look like the Twins made a mistake in their evaluation process. He posted a 2.81 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP with 89 strikeouts in 118 1/3 innings over 19 starts. While his numbers looked great on the surface, some outlying numbers pointed to a potential decline. He struck out fewer than seven batters per nine innings and posted a 3.73 FIP. Rodríguez saw his big-league numbers decline over the next two seasons. He began the 2019 season in the Giant rotation and struggled with an ERA north of 5.00 in eight starts. In late May, he returned to the majors as a reliever, and he’d filled that role for the remainder of the season. As a reliever at the big-league level, he has pitched 31 innings and posted a 6.39 ERA with a 1.65 WHIP. Even though he was still under team control through 2024, San Francisco parted ways with him following the 2020 campaign. Last season, Rodríguez pitched the entire season as a starter at the Triple-A level in the Rockies organization. In 85 2/3 innings, he posted a 6.72 ERA and 1.66 WHIP with an 87 to 30 strikeout to walk ratio. These numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but Rodríguez has a reputation as a hard worker and a good teammate. Minnesota will likely extend him a non-roster invite for spring training, especially with questions surrounding the team’s pitching staff in 2022. What are your thoughts on the Rodríguez signing? Do you think he can impact the 2022 Twins? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or emai
  2. I argued in my notes on a hypothetical plan for the Twins’ second half that they need to look inward at their talent pool to assess what they have and what they need going forwards. There are three prime examples of the necessity of this practice; Niko Goodrum, Randy Rosario, and Dereck Rodriguez. Niko Goodrum was the Twins second-round pick in 2010. After grinding for seven plus seasons in MiLB, he finally broke into the majors last season with the Twins at age 25. Goodrum received only 18 PA for Minnesota before finding his way onto the Tigers roster in 2018. While it seemed Goodrum was blocked in Minnesota as a middle infielder by Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco and Ehire Adrianza, he has performed admirably with Detroit, putting together a solid .250/.319/.456 line with a .206 ISO. Goodrum’s isolated power would put him fourth on the Twins, behind only Jake Cave, Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar. Crucially, he’s a RH bat in a very LH dominant lineup, and might have found significant ABs at DH this year with Miguel Sano in Single A, and Logan Morrison a non-contributor. Goodrum is currently a one-win player with Detroit (fWAR) and on his way to a solid first season in the majors. Randy Rosario pitched just 2 1/3 innings with the Twins, struggling mightily in doing so. Rosario was picked up by the Cubs and has logged close to 30 innings for them this year, putting together an impressive 1.95 ERA and stranding an improbable 94 percent of base runners. I will say that Rosario’s peripheral numbers look far less impressive. It seems that early in 2018 he has been extremely lucky. It would appear that he is due for a fairly significant regression with the Cubs in the second half, but with lefty pitchers in such short supply, would it not have served the Twins to take a longer look? Dereck Rodriguez (son of Pudge) put together strong numbers as a starting pitcher throughout his time in the Twins minor league system. He was simply blocked from an opportunity with the Twins and found his way into the Giants organization. In seven starts and some relief work with the Giants, Rodriguez has pitched close to 50 innings to the tune of a 2.89 ERA (3.42 FIP) is striking out a solid 7.14 K/9 and is worth 1.0 fWAR in his limited time. Clearly the Giants see something in Rodriguez the Twins did not, it’s just unfortunate that there are so many players who have left the Twins organization without getting a big league opportunity, who seem to be seizing it elsewhere. There’re plenty of players who would also have made good examples for this article. Aaron Hicks is not a good example. He’s actually a great example of the Twins being patient with a young hitter and giving him ample opportunities at the plate. He just figured it out after the Twins moved on. The Twins gave Hicks 928 plate appearances in Minnesota, in which he put together a 2.5 fWAR. In 361 2018 plate appearances with the Yankees, he already has a 3.3 fWAR. Sometimes things just don’t work out in your favor. With regard to Goodrum, Rosario and Rodriguez, I’m not saying they should have kept one, two, or all of them. Teams don’t always have the luxury of being able to give marginal hitters a few hundred plate appearances, marginal relievers forty major league innings, or marginal starters a five start stretch to prove their worth (particularly in a playoff race in 2017). My point is simply when you do have the opportunity, you should seize it. It seems highly likely the Twins will have that opportunity in the second half of 2018. Moving into 2019. The Twins will likely have core starting pitching arms of Berrios, Gibson, Romero and Odorizzi. They should establish if Aaron Slegers, Zach Littell, Adalberto Mejia, Stephen Gonsalves, or even Trevor May is well positioned to occupy a back end role in 2019. Additionally, they should establish their pecking order for sixth, seventh,and eighth starters (form and health aside) who will inevitably be called on over the course of a long season. Similarly, with their bullpen. Luke Bard, John Curtiss, Gabriel Moya, Jake Reed and Alan Busenitz should all receive some consistent innings, over a period of time without interruption. If even two of this group can be reliable bullpen arms, the front office can focus on other areas this coming winter. It might feel like a long second half, so let’s see what we have, and what we need.
  3. With that, let’s take a look at my choices for Twins prospects 26-30. #30 SS Jelfry Marte Marte is one of the more intriguing names on this prospect list. Signed in July out of the Dominican Republic for $3 million, most believe that he has the potential to stay at shortstop. He’s got good speed, range and a strong arm. While he is currently about 5-10 and 140 pounds, it is believed that he will grow. There are mixed opinions about his offensive potential While many believe that he will likely be a bottom of the order hitter, some think that he could grow and eventually add some power. He could begin his pro career in the Dominican Summer League in 2018, though it’s possible he’ll move up to the GCL. #29 RHP Dereck Rodriguez Rodriguez recently became a free agent. He was drafted by the Twins in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of high school in Florida. He spent the first three seasons of his pro career as an outfielder in the rookie leagues. He started the transition to pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appy League Pitcher of the Year. He finished the 2016 season with a 2.56 ERA in Ft. Myers. He was an All Star for the Miracle in 2017, going 5-2 with a 2.51 ERA. He moved up to AA where he went 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA. Last offseason, he helped win a championship in the Puerto Rico Winter League and was then named an alternate for the talented Puerto Rico WBC team. He’s 25 but continues to take strides forward. He throws 90-93, touching 94. He’s got a good slider as well and a changeup. He was able to get more ground balls. He even got to attend his father’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown in August. #28 3B Andrew Bechtold Bechtold was the Twins fifth-round draft pick this year out of junior college powerhouse Chipola College. Coming out of high school, he went to Maryland. He made seven starts before getting hurt and getting a medical redshirt. In 2017, he hit .419/.532/.676 with 12 homers. He had committed to LSU but instead signed with the Twins. At Elizabethton, he hit .299/.406/.424 with ten doubles and two homers. At 6-1 and 195 pounds, Bechtold was moved to third base at Chipola (though he may have played shortstop at LSU). He already has shown his ability to work the count and take walks. He also has a chance to hit for a lot of power. #27 RHP Griffin Jax Jax made a start in Elizabethton this summer before making four starts in Cedar Rapids. That marked his three-week leave from the Air Force. When he left, he headed to Cape Canaveral where he is an acquisitions officer. His duty will be complete next summer, though he may be able to make the trek to Ft. Myers on weekends in the summer. Jax, whose dad played in the NFL for a decade, was the Twins third-round pick in 2016. He’s blessed with a mid-90s fastball and has a good slider and a changeup to go with it. He will turn 23 in two weeks, so his career will be delayed by two years. We’ll have to be patient, but he has the stuff to be good. (Get to know him.) #26 OF Aaron Whitefield The Twins have done well with toolsy hitters in the past. In the Twins minor league system, there are not players more athletic than the outfielder from Australia. He’s only been playing baseball for about three years after spending most of his youth playing softball at a high level. Defensively, he can cover ground in center field with anyone (not named Byron Buxton). Offensively, he’s still working on things, but he hit .268/.318/.414 (.732) with 18 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs. He also stole 33 bases. He’ll need to adjust and put the ball in play more, but he’s definitely a sleeper. (Get to know him.) So there you have Part 3 of my Top 50 Twins Prospect rankings, prospects 26-30. Be sure to check out Part 1 (41-50) and Part 2 (31-40), and feel free to discuss any of these players or ask questions below.
  4. Thanks for following the updates throughout the day. It was fun to keep tabs on the goings on in the Twins minor leagues throughout the day. So for those who are seeing this for the first time, the format is obviously quite different from what you normally see here, but more frequent updates can be good too. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Buffalo 3 (FINAL) Box Score Aaron Slegers starts for the Red Wings at 12:35. At 76-57, the Red Wings have been eliminated from winning their division. However, they have a two game lead over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the Wild Card race. Their magic number coming into the day is 8. 12:47 UPDATE: In the top of the first inning, Slegers hit the leadoff batter. With two outs, 1B Rowdy Tellez doubles in the runner to give the Bisons a 1-0 lead. 12:58 UPDATE: In the top of the second inning, Slegers gave up a solo home run to SS Shane Opitz. Red Wings down 2-0. 1:04 UPDATE: Following Niko Goodrum getting hit by a pitch, Leonardo Reginnato doubled him in to put the Red Wings on the scoreboard. Through two innings, Red Wings 1, Bisons 2. 1:30 UPDATE: With two on and one out in the 4th, Slegers gave up a run-scoring single to Opitz to make the score 3-1 Bisons. While he's given up three runs, Slegers does have six strikeouts, including the third out of this inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd. 2:16 UPDATE: With two outs, and just after Chad Allen got ejected, Anthony Recker singled in Niko Goodrum to cut the Red Wings deficit to 3-2. Goodrum had singled and stolen second base. It was his 11th steal of the game. 2:24 UPDATE: He's at 89 pitches, so I don't know if he's done, but after two strikeouts in the 7th, Aaron Slegers now has nine strikeouts in the game. 2:35 UPDATE: Engelb Vielma led off the 7th with a walk. Two outs later, Daniel Palka singled him in and after an error, he also scored to give the Red Wings a 4-3 lead. Here it is... an absolutely crazy "Little League Home Run." https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/901894690072657920 2:40 UPDATE: Aaron Slegers' 102nd pitch gave him his 10th strikeout of the game. He's likely done, having given up only those three early runs. A very impressive outing. 2:52 UPDATE: Michael Tonkin coming in for the ninth to protect a 4-3 Red Wings lead. 2:57 UPDATE: Tonkin had a 1-2-3 ninth inning to record his fifth save. Aaron Slegers is now 14-4 (he was 4-4 at one point) on the season. https://twitter.com/JoshWhetzel/status/901902396468727808 Multi-Hit Games: Leonardo Reginnato (2-3, walk, 2B (14), Anthony Recker (2-4)) PLAYOFF UPDATE: The Red Wings won. Lehigh Valley was shutout/one-hit on Sunday, so the Red Wings Magic Number drops to six. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 0, Jackson 3 (FINAL) Box Score Dereck Rodriguez starts for the Lookouts. Game starts at 2:05. After going 42-28 and clinching a playoff berth in the first half, the Lookouts are now 43-18 in the 2nd half. They have a seven game lead in the division with a magic number of 3. 2:45 UPDATE: Jackson starter Brad Keller is yet to give up a hit through three innings. He's struck out three and walked one. Dereck Rodriguez has been hittable (4 hits), but equaled Keller with three zeroes on the board. Rodriguez is at 34 pitches while Keller is at 36 pitches through three innings. 3:03 UPDATE: Through five innings, Brad Keller still has not given up a hit. Only base runner has been LaMonte Wade, who walked. 3:09 UPDATE: In the bottom of the 5th, Rodriguez gave up a solo home run to Daniel Lockhart, his first AA home run. A couple of batters later, long-time part-time big leaguer Emelio Bonafacio hit his first AA homer of the year. He started the season with Atlanta. 3:24 UPDATE: No hit for the Lookouts through six innings for Brad Keller so far today. 3:32 UPDATE: Dereck Rodriguez gave up two singles to start the bottom of the 6th. After coaxing a pop-up, he walked a batter to load the bases. At that point, Randy Rosario came in to replace him. 3:38 UPDATE: The first batter rolled a ball toward third base. TJ White's only play was to first base. Another run scored off of Rodriguez. A walk re-loaded the bases. Rosario got a strikeout for the third out. Final line for Dereck Rodriguez: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. 3:44 UPDATE: Jonathan Rodriguez singled off of Keller, the first hit of the game (in the 7th inning) against Keller. 4:15 UPDATE: Mason McCullough replaced Keller. He issued a walk in the 8th inning, but that was it. Nick Anderson replaces Randy Rosario in the bottom of the 8th inning. Rosario gave up two hits and a walk in 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Just one of the three runners he inherited in the sixth inning scored. 4:22 UPDATE: One hit, but no runs for Nick Anderson in the 8th inning. The Lookouts need to score three runs off of Joey Krehbiel in the 9th to tie the game. 4:29 UPDATE: Edgar Corcino led off the ninth with a double, his 17th. But the next three batters got out, ending the game. Multi-Hit Games: I mean, the team only had two hits, so there were no multi-hit games. PLAYOFF UPDATE: The Lookouts Magic Number remains three. Montgomery plays tonight. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers, Charlotte (Doubleheader Postponed) Box Score Lewis Thorpe starts game one at 1:00. The Miracle went 33-35 in the first half, third in their division. However, in the second half, they have taken off. They are 39-21, four games ahead of Charlotte. Their magic number is six, so a double header sweep could do wonders. 12:30 UPDATE: The Miracle have announced that rain and poor field conditions have force the doubleheader to be delayed. They said that the gates will not open until at least 3:00 central time. Hopefully they can get the games in. 2:45 UPDATE: Press release from the Miracle regarding today's postponement and what it means for the upcoming schedule. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Quad Cities 9 (FINAL) Box Score Tyler Beardsley is on the mound for the Kernels. Game time is 1:15. The Kernels clinched a playoff spot by finishing second in their division in the first half with a 39-31 record. In the second half, they are 32-30, tied for second place in their division with Peoria, eight games back of first place. 1:20 UPDATE: Batting second, Travis Blankenhorn hit his 12th home run of the season for the Kernels to give them a 1-0 lead. 1:26 UPDATE: With two outs, Lewin Diaz singled, and then Caleb Hamilton scored him with a triple, his fourth of the season. 1:50 UPDATE: Shane Carrier and Travis Blankenhorn walked in the 2nd inning, with a Jordan Gore single in between. Carrier scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Aaron Whitefield. Lewin Diaz then singled to score Gore with the second run of the inning. Diaz then stole second and when the throw was mishandled, Whitefield scored from third. Kernels 5-0 after 1 1/2 inning. 2:19 UPDATE: Tyler Beardsley cruised through the first two innings, but with one out in the third, he gave up a three-run homer to catcher Chuckie Robinson, his 15th of the season for Quad Cities. 2:22 UPDATE: Abraham Toro-Hernandez followed with his ninth home run, cutting the Kernels lead to 5-4. 3:04 UPDATE: Tyler Beardley's day is done with one out in the fifth inning and a pair of RBI singles has put the Kernels down 6-5. Logan Lombana comes in with runners on first and second. 3:12 UPDATE: Lombana threw a wild pitch to advance the runners. He got the third out, but not before a sacrifice fly made it 7-5 Cedar Rapids. Tyler Beardsley's final line: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. 3:21 UPDATE: The Kernels responded with a run in the top of the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Aaron Whitefield grounded into a double play, but Jordan Gore scored to make it 7-6. 3:37 UPDATE: Lombana gave up two runs on three singles in the bottom of the 6th inning. 3:49 UPDATE: Eddie Del Rosario replaces Lombana. Lombana is charged with two runs on three hits over 1.2 innings. 4:08 UPDATE: Rosario has thrown two perfect innings. They head to the ninth inning with the Kernels needing to score three runs to keep it going. 4:18 UPDATE: The Kernels had one base runner, but they were unable to score in the top of the ninth inning and fall 9-6. Multi-Hit Games: Lewin Diaz 3-4, BB - Trey Cabbage 2-4, BB - Jordan Gore 2-5. Travis Blankenhorn added his 12th homer and walked twice. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 6, Greeneville 2 (FINAL) Box Score Edwar Colina was named to the Appy League All Star team this week. At 5:00, he'll take the mound again for the Twins. On Saturday night, the E-Twins clinched a playoff berth again. They are 38-25 and 4 1/2 games ahead of Johnson City in the division. 5:50 UPDATE: It took until the fourth inning, but the E-Twins got on the scoreboard first. Carson Crites singled in the top of the inning. Nick Brown started (not Colina) and has given up just one hit through the first three innings. 5:57 UPDATE: Still in the top of the fourth frame, Gorge Munoz cleared the bases with a double to put the Twins up 4-0. Munoz then scored on an Akil Baddoo single to make it 5-0. 6:03 UPDATE: Yes, it's still the fourth frame, and here's another update. Following a pitching change, Jose Miranda singled in Akil Baddoo, who had stolen second base. 6-0 Twins. 6:12 UPDATE: Not as much fun to report or write about, but I suppose I should. Nick Brown gave up two runs (1 earned) in the bottom of the fourth inning. It's now 6-2 through four innings. 6:34 UPDATE: In the top of the 6th inning, there were one-out singles from Gorge Munoz and Akil Baddoo. Ariel Montesino grounded to third, but Munoz scored on the fielder's choice when the throw was bad. Then Baddoo scored when Jose Miranda flew out to deep-enough left field. 8-2 Twins. 6:45 UPDATE: The E-Twins have clinched the division title: https://twitter.com/AppyLeague/status/901953767406481408 7:02 UPDATE: Nick Brown was done after six innings. Two runs (1 earned) on five hits. He walked one and struck out two. Jared Finkel came on for the 7th. 7:27 UPDATE: Jared Finkel got the final nine outs for the three-inning save. He gave up two hits and struck out two. Multi-Hit Games: Akil Baddoo, 2-4, BB - Gorge Munoz, 2-3, BB, 2B (1) - Rainis Silva, 2-5. PLAYOFF UPDATE: On Saturday, they clinched a playoff spot. On Sunday, they clinched the top spot in their division. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins Box Score No Game Scheduled on Sundays in the GCL. In a little news, Twins 2nd round pick RHP Landon Leach has left the team and joined the Canadian U18 team at the World Cup. In previous years, Lachlan Wells and Lewis Thorpe have left the team to play in the World Cup as well. The GCL Twins are currently 31-21 and hold a 5 1/2 game lead in their division. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is just three. Additionally, the Twins Dominican Summer League team is 49-22 and they clinched a playoff berth last week. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Aaron Slegers, Rochester Red Wings Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Lewin Diaz, Cedar Rapids Kernels MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Scranton/Wilkes Barre (6:05 CST) - RHP Felix Jorge Chattanooga @ Jackson (6:05 CST) - RHP DJ Baxendale Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (5:30 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:35 CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons Elizabethton @ Greeneville (6:00 CST) - RHP Edwar Colina GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  5. Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Saturday. Let’s start with the transactions of the day: You might have heard. Royce Lewis, the first overall pick this June, was promoted to Cedar Rapids from the GCL. Aaron Whitefield was also removed from the disabled list for the Kernels. To make room for his return, Hank Morrison was released. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Norfolk 2 Box Score Rochester got yet another strong start from Aaron Slegers, and used some power to take this win. Slegers won his ninth straight decision (10 starts). He gave up just two runs on eight hits over 7.1 innings. He struck out six. Mason Melotakis recorded his first Red Wings save by getting the final five outs, two on strikeouts. Byungho Park put the Red Wings on the scoreboard in the fifth inning with a two-run homer, his 10th of the season. In the sixth, Mitch Garver added his 17th home run to give the team a lead they’d hold on to. Garver added his 27th double later and walked once. Kennys Vargas was 2-4. Zack Granite added a single and a walk. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Birmingham 0 Box Score The Lookouts faced White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech for the fourth time on Saturday night. In his three previous starts, he had struck out nine, ten and twelve batters. In this game, the flame-throwing righty struck out ten again. Fortunately, Dereck Rodriguez was up to the challenge. On a night when his dad was honored by the Texas Rangers, who retired his number, Dereck Rodriguez was fantastic. He outpitched Kopech, just without the same number of strikeouts. Rodriguez threw seven shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked none and struck out five. He improved to 5-2 on the season with the Lookouts. Rodriguez said that he just had things working tonight. “I was getting ahead of hitters and throwing my pitches for strikes.” That it was opposite a talent like Michael Kopech didn’t faze Rodriguez. “It could have been Nolan Ryan on the mound. Rodriguez continued with a chuckle, “It didn't matter to me... I don't have to face him.” Todd Van Steensel worked out of trouble in the eighth inning. He gave up a hit, walked one and hit a batter, but somehow did not give up a run. Nick Anderson picked up his sixth save with a scoreless ninth frame. The Lookouts scored their run in the seventh inning. Ryan Walker hit his 12th double. Nick Gordon singled, and Walker scored on an error on the play. Jonathan Rodriguez added his 26th double. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 9, Dunedin 6 Box Score Brent Rooker stayed hot and gave the Miracle a big lead in the first inning again on Saturday night. He hit a three-run homer, his sixth with the Miracle. And when he’s hit them of late, he’s picked some big moments. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/896499294609559552 Eduardo Del Rosario was given run support, but he wasn’t able to fully take advantage. He gave up four runs on five hits and four walks in four innings. He struck out three before being removed. Williams Ramirez struck out four over two scoreless innings. Alex Robinson gave up a run in his inning. Michael Theofanopoulos gave up nothing over the final two innings to finish it off. Jaylin Davis went 2-4 with two RBI. Sean Miller had a single and a walk and scored twice. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 9, Quad Cities 1 Box Score Royce Lewis was the big story in the Twins minor league system on Saturday, and he came as advertised, so let’s start with the rest. Shane Carrier continues to absolutely rake. He went 2-4 and hit his fourth home run, a two-run shot to put the Kernels on the board. Jimmy Kerrigan went 2-3 including his third home run and two RBI. Jordan Gore went 1-2 with two walks. https://twitter.com/TCAnelle/status/896525758620868608 And how good has Carrier been of late? https://twitter.com/jeje66/status/896537522133749760 Lefty Anthony Marzi started and gave up just one run on four hits over six innings. He walked three and hit two, but limited damage. Max Cordy bent but didn’t break.He gave up a hit and walked five, but somehow didn’t give up a run over his two innings. He struck out three. Hector Lujan struck out two in the final inning. OK, on to the Royce Lewis portion. Lewis led off and played shortstop for the Kernels. In his first at-bat, he lined a single to left field. Soon after, he stole second base. We won’t mention though that he was then picked off. In his second at-bat, he lined a single to right field after fouling off several tough pitches. In his third at-bat, he drove in a run with another single to right field. His fourth at-bat, he had a line-drive-in-the-book, even if it really was a pop up that landed right between the right fielder, the second baseman and the first baseman. OK, he proved human in his fifth at-bat, striking out. But 4-5 with a run, an RBI, a stolen base and no errors is pretty good, I’d say! First hit: https://twitter.com/TCAnelle/status/896524709558407168 Third hit: https://twitter.com/TCAnelle/status/896545299358994433 Fourth hit: https://twitter.com/TCAnelle/status/896554287152713730 Oh, and the Kernels had one of their theme nights. It was Beach Night and the Kernels wore special jerseys that get auctioned off by silent bid through the sixth inning. Royce Lewis’s jersey went for $900. Here’s a fun look at that jersey: https://twitter.com/Mr_Shucks/status/896511028623749120 E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 5, Johnson City 12 Box Score It was a rough night all around for the E-Twins on Saturday. Offensively, they managed just five hits. Jose Miranda hit his first triple. Ariel Montesino added his third double. JJ Robinson drove in two of the team’s runs. Ryley Widell started for the Twins. In 3.1 innings, the left-hander gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits. He walked two, hit two and struck out five. Moises Gomez gave up six runs on three hits and three walks in just one innings. Blair Lakso went two innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and three walks. Jose Martinez got the final five outs (two on strikeouts) and gave up just one hit. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, GCL Red Sox 5 Box Score Henry Centeno made another rehab start in the GCL. The right-hander walked one over three, no-hit innings. He struck out three. Matt Jones was next up. The left-hander gave up two unearned runs on three hits and two walks in three innings. He struck out three. Kevin Marnon gave up one run on two hits over two innings. He struck out three.Derek Molina gave up one run on one hit and one walk in his inning. Zach Featherstone came in and got two outs, but gave up an unearned run to take the loss. Victor Tademo led the offense. He went 2-4 with his fourth double. Ricky De La Torre was also 2-4 and drove in two runs. Alex Robles went 2-3. Chris Paul had a double in five at-bats. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Royce Lewis, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Norfolk @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - RHP Tim Melville Chattanooga @ Birmingham (3:00 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) - RHP Brady Anderson Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - LHP Charlie Barnes Elizabethton @ Johnson City (6:00 CST) - RHP Melvi Acosta GCL Twins - No Game Scheduled Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games.
  6. Making the Hall of Fame is a huge accomplishment. With Rodriguez voted in, it was also a big day for Puerto Rico. He became just the fourth player born in Puerto Rico to be named a Hall of Famer. Consider all of the great players to come from Puerto Rico, only Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar are in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Lean Marrero spent his summer playing for the GCL Twins. Very young, he has a lot of athletic talent. Here are his thoughts on this important day for Ivan Rodriguez and for Puerto Rico. “It gives me satisfaction to hear that a Puerto Rican has reached the Hall of Fame. It inspires me to stay focused on what I want my career to be like It serves as an example to always exceed any limitation.” JJ Fernandez, a Twins minor league outfielder who spent his 2016 season in Cedar Rapids and had been a catcher before 2016, was excited for Rodriguez. “For me, he deserves it. He’s one of the best catchers baseball has ever seen. It really means a lot for sure. Everybody in Puerto Rico is very happy and proud.” Another 2016 Kernel, Nelson Molina, was very excited as well. “It means so much to me. Really, it does. Since I was a little kid, he was always my favorite player. I know it’s not only me, but all the young players from Puerto Rico have this feeling of excitement and feel extremely proud, knowing that dreams do come true with hard work, dedication and a lot of sacrifice.” Molina continued, “I got the pleasure of not only meeting him, but to get to know him on a personal level. All I can say is that he is a great human being who has given me advice on how to be a better player. As I mentioned before, I know it’s not only me, but all of Puerto Rico feels extremely proud of Ivan for joining a select group of elite baseball players in the Hall of Fame, and putting our island, Puerto Rico, very high as have Roberto Clemente, Roberto Alomar and Orlando Cepeda.” “It means a lot,” said Dereck Rodriguez, another member of the 2016 Cedar Rapids Kernels roster from Puerto Rico. He continued, “Hopefully there’s one next year too in Edgar Martinez. You never know. It could be one year, five years, twenty years. It’s a very special moment for Puerto Ricans and for the island. I know they’re going crazy right now. I’ve received phone calls and FaceTimed with people. It's nuts over there right now. It’s a fun time.” Dereck Rodriguez is excited for the island of Puerto Rico, where he has been pitching (and well) this winter. But as the son of Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck is understandably excited for his dad and his family. On Tuesday, he flew to Dallas to be with his father. It was important for him to be there. “It means a lot to me. This is where I was born. This is where everything started for him. It’s where things started for him and for me,” he continued, “It was big. I was there from Day 1. I went through the journey with him. I spent a lot of nights with him in the hotel in the summers. It means a lot. It was important for me to be there with him for that special moment.” Just ten minutes before 5:00, the phone rang at Ivan Rodriguez’s home. On the other end, the Hall of Fame. Seconds later, Pudge clenched his fist and raised his arm as tears began to form in the corners of his eyes. The first person to give him a hug was his son, Dereck. Dereck Rodriguez said, “It was a special moment. Yeah, I got the first hug in. It was a very special moment. I couldn’t hold back any tears.” Dereck Rodriguez has a very different perspective on the game of baseball than most people, even most minor leaguers. It might be surprising to some to learn when he realized just how difficult this game is and the challenges it can present. “Before I signed, I always just thought of this as just a game. After I signed and had been in the minor leagues and been through all of the struggles… It’s tough. It’s tough. And to be a Hall of Famer, and to be the caliber of player that he was, it’s not easy. So I understand 100% how he must feel after all of the hard work and sacrifice that he put in. It paid off.” Rodriguez has said before that he spent a lot of time with his dad growing up. He saw it up close. He had a great view of the game and got to know many of his dad’s teammates, but for him, it was about more than that. In fact, other things were likely more important much of the time. “When I used to come to the field when I was younger, I used to spend my time making paintballs and playing pickle and all that stuff with the other kids.” Now? As Dereck Rodriguez stood in the outfield at The Ballpark in Arlington, looking in as his father conducted a press conference on the infield, his mind was racing and full of excitement. “I go to a baseball game, and wow, I want to be here. I’m here standing in the outfield. I’m wishing and hoping. I can’t wait to be hopefully one day be pitching on that mound, in front of this packed stadium, in the town that I lived in and grew up, and it pretty much raised me for a lot of years.” Dereck Rodriguez is one proud son. “The feeling that I have right now for my dad, and me honestly, I can’t believe it that my dad is a Hall of Famer.” That was the sentiment he felt when he posted the following on twitter: Rodriguez noted, “To be honest, it was a longer tweet but you can only put so many characters, so I had to make it shorter.” Drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 draft out of high school in Florida, Rodriguez spent the first three years of his professional career as a hitter. At that point, Rodriguez and the Twins brass made the decision for him to move to the mound, to become a pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appalachian League pitcher of the year. His father gets to a handful of Dereck’s games each year. “He’s been supportive. He tries to make it out there as much as he can.” Ivan Rodriguez is a special assistant to the GM of the Texas Rangers. It’s a title similar to what the Twins recently named Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins. He also does pregame and postgame shows for Fox Sports Southwest during the season. This year, Dereck Rodriguez moved up to Cedar Rapids to start the season. He really struggled for the first two months before taking off. Starting in mid-June, he started pitching much better. In fact, he had a strong six-week stretch for the Kernels and earned a promotion to Ft. Myers where he pitched well in five starts to end the season. “I started throwing the ball down a bit more. It was honestly that confidence. I didn’t have as much confidence as I should. I started throwing the two-seam a lot more, and that helped a lot. Started getting a lot more ground balls instead of fly balls. It was a combination of things. But that main thing was that I just needed to build up my confidence. It paid off. I got moved up to High-A and I just kept doing it up there.” This winter, as we mentioned, he has been working out the bullpen for Mayaguez. He pitches an inning or two each weekend. In 13 games and 17.2 innings, he is 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA. He has been very appreciative of the opportunity he was given and gained a lot from it. “It was special. It was fun. They gave me the confidence that they believed in me to throw me in those late-game situations. Puerto Rico, compared to the other leagues, may not be the highest ranked, but it’s really good competition. They have AA, AAA, big league guys playing there. It was a lot of fun. It taught me a lot. I worked on a couple of things. It taught me how to pitch in different situations, key situations late in the game. It taught me a lot.” 2017 is a big year for Rodriguez. At the end of the season, he could become a free agent if he chooses. So what are his goals? “I think any player in the minors, the ultimate goal is to go up as much as he can; AA, AAA, or even the big leagues. I’m taking some time off right now with my arm to give it some rest before getting it going again. Trying to make AA right out of spring training and see what happens from there. Hopefully I do well enough and they see the hard work that I do during the year and then, we’ll see, maybe move up to AAA and maybe the big leagues in September.” He’d like to get a little rest before spring training starts in a little over a month. But the next few days will not allow for it. He is going to be a bit busy, doing some traveling with his dad. They are flying up to New York tonight, expected to arrive in Cooperstown well after midnight. “It’s going to be a couple of fun, hectic days.” Tomorrow afternoon, Ivan Rodriguez will join Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines at the baseball Hall of Fame to see the museum and speak with more press. Dereck says that he has been to Cooperstown before, but this will certainly be different. “I’ve been there before, but as a visitor. Last time I went, I was 12 years old. Now I get to go and see everything, appreciate everything a lot more now that I’m older.” What an experience! Some may say that Johnny Bench is the greatest catcher in baseball history. Some will say that title goes to Yogi Berra. In baseball’s 150-year existence, it is certain that Ivan Rodriguez is right there at or near the top of the list of baseball’s great catchers. His son Dereck is very happy and very proud. As he should be. “He worked his butt off to be where he is today. I honestly don’t think there’s been a harder working person than he has been. During the offseason, his workout program, and even during the season, he was the first one to get to the stadium and the last one to leave. He worked his butt off to get to where he is today.”
  7. Find out which pitchers have been leading the way for their team(s) to this point in the season. There are about seven weeks left of the minor league seasons. THE STARTING PITCHERS (Rate number - minimum 61.0 innings) Innings Pitched: Sean Poppen (97.0), Dereck Rodriguez (96.2), Aaron Slegers (96.0), Clark Beeker (93.0), Eduardo Del Rosario (92.1), Felix Jorge (91.2). ERA: Nik Turley (1.81), Tyler Wells (2.21), Sean Poppen (2.60), Clark Beeker (2.71), Fernando Romero (2.78), Stephen Gonsalves (2.86), Dereck Rodriguez (2.89). WHIP: Nik Turley (0.91), Stephen Gonsalves (0.97), Tyler Wells (1.00), Clark Beeker (1.01), Sean Poppen (1.04), Dereck Rodriguez (1.107), Cody Stashak (1.111). K/9: Nik Turley (13.2), Tyler Wells (12.1), Stephen Gonsalves (10.6), Fernando Romero (9.0), Eduardo Del Rosario (8.3), Cody Stashak (8.2), Sean Poppen (8.1). BB/9: Clark Beeker (1.2), Sean Poppen/Stephen Gonsalves (1.7), Lachlan Wells (1.9), Dereck Rodriguez (2.0), Nick Anderson/Aaron Slegers/Cody Stashak/David Hurlbut (2.2) K: Nik Turley (95), Fernando Romero (91), Sean Poppen (87), Eduardo Del Rosario (85), Tyler Wells (82), Dereck Rodriguez (81). THE RELIEF PITCHERS (Rate numbers - minimum 31.0 innings, and less than 4 starts) Innings Pitched: Sam Clay (46.2), DJ Baxendale (44.0), Colton Davis (41.1), Luke Bard/Tom Hackimer (41.0), Logan Lombana/Alex Robinson/Andrew Vasquez (39.0). ERA: Andrew Vasquez (0.92), Nick Anderson (1.00), Tom Hackimer (1.32), John Curtiss (1.35), Drew Rucinski/Sam Clay (1.54), Randy Rosario (1.64). WHIP: Tom Hackimer (0.76), Drew Rucinski (0.77), Randy Rosario (0.835), Alan Busenitz (0.844), Mason Melotakis (0.85), Nick Anderson (0.86), Hector Lujan (0.90). K/9: Luke Bard/Andrew Vasquez (14.3), Alex Robinson (12.5), John Curtiss (12.4), Mason Melotakis/Michael Theofanopoulos (10.5), Trevor Hildenberger (10.3). BB/9: Drew Rucinski (0.8), Hector Lujan (1.0), Randy Rosario (1.9), Tom Hackimer (2.2), DJ Baxendale/Nick Anderson/Trevor Hildenberger (2.3). K: Luke Bard (65), Andrew Vasquez (62), Alex Robinson (54), Michael Theofanopoulos (48), John Curtiss (46), Sam Clay (45), Tom Hackimer (43). Saves: John Curtiss (14), Tom Hackimer/Hector Lujan (8), Sam Clay/Trevor Hildenberger (6) Feel free to ask questions about any of the players or teams.
  8. Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Wednesday, starting with the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS There were a handful of transactions in the Twins system on Wednesday. The Twins placed Hector Santiago on the disabled list with upper thoracic back pain and discomfort. They recalled Alan Busenitz from Rochester. He was optioned last Friday after working 2.2 innings of relief. He has not pitched for Rochester since then. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Pawtucket 1 Box Score Dillon Gee wants to make the Twins’ decision on whether or not to call him up before his July 15th opt-out more difficult. On Wednesday afternoon, he worked five shutout innings. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out three. Alex Wimmers came on and gave up one run on two hits over two innings to record his fifth Red Wings save. He struck out two. Gee used his defense in this game, including this gem from Engelb Vielma. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/882715404958920705 The Red Wings put together a three-run first inning. That was all for the offense, but it was enough in this game. Zack Granite led off the first with a single. He scored two batters later on Mitch Garver’s 18th double. (Josh Whetzel informed those listening that it had an exit velocity of 110 mph) A Kennys Vargas single was followed by an RBI single from Byungho Park. Later, Tommy Field’s fielder’s choice gave the Wings their third run. Vargas was the lone Red Wings hitter with more than one hit. He went 2-3 and added his third double. Game 2 - Rochester 0, Pawtucket 2 Box Score The Red Wings went with a bullpen effort in the second game. DJ Baxendale got the starting nod. He went three innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on seven hits. He walked none and struck out two. Mason Melotakis came on and struck out three over two scoreless innings. Michael Tonkin struck out one over two scoreless innings. The offense managed just four hits. Matt Hague was 2-2 with two walks and his 13th double. Tommy Field added his 21st double. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 5, Tennessee 3 Box Score The Lookouts won for the 26th time in their last 31 games on Wednesday night. Dereck Rodriguez put together another strong start. The righty improved to 3-0 with the Lookouts with seven innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out six. Todd Van Steensel came on for the eighth and struck out the side. He got one more out in the ninth inning (on a strikeout, of course), but he gave up one run on three hits. Nick Anderson, on his birthday, came on and recorded the final two outs, both on strikeouts to secure the win. Levi Michael led the offense. He went 3-4 with his tenth double. Travis Harrison went 1-2 with two walks and his 15th double. He also stole a base. Nick Gordon added an RBI double, his 22nd two-bagger of the year. LaMonte Wade and Jonathan Rodriguez were both 1-3 with a walk. The Lookouts are now 12-1, five games ahead of Tennessee in the Southern League’s North Division’s second-half standings. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Tampa 1 Box Score Sean Poppen made his Florida State League debut on Wednesday night in Tampa. He worked two shutout innings. He gave up two hits, no walks and struck out two. Then the rains came. There was a delay of nearly two hours. When the game resumed, Keaton Steele took over. He gave up a solo homer in the third inning, but that was it. He worked five innings and gave up just four hits. He walked none and struck out four. Alex Muren worked two strong innings. He walked two and struck out five. The Miracle got most of its offense from the nine-spot. Nelson Molina went 4-4 with two triples. He drove in one of the runs on a single, and he scored the go-ahead run. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Wisconsin 5 Box Score Left-hander Evan Sanders was not drafted last summer. The Twins saw him this offseason in a workout and signed him. Recently, he came up to Cedar Rapids and has been working out of their bullpen. On Wednesday night, he made his first start. The first inning went well. He struck out two. In the second inning, however, he gave up five runs and recorded just one out. Logan Lombana came in and faced 11 batters. He got all 11 out, keeping the Kernels relatively close. In the fifth inning, Travis Blankenhorn had a bases-loaded walk to put the Kernels on the scoreboard. Patrick McGuff provided three shutout innings, striking out five. Alex Robinson worked a scoreless ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, Gorge Munoz was hit by a pitch. It was followed by a triple from Aaron Whitefield to cut the lead to 5-2. After a pitching change, Travis Blankenhorn grounded out, which scored the Kernels' third run, but also accounted for the inning's second out. Lewin Diaz flew out to end the game. Christian Cavaness went 3-4 with his eighth double. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton , Princeton Box Score The E-Twins game on Wednesday night was rained out. They’ll play two on Thursday. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 10, GCL Rays 8 Box Score Dane Hutcheon, batting ninth, provided some major run production for the GCL Twins on Wednesday morning. In his first at bat, he drove in two with his first triple of the season. In the fourth inning, he added an RBI single. In the fifth inning, he hit a two-run double. In the game, he went 3-5 with five RBI. Akil Baddoo stayed hot. He went 2-4 with a walk and his third double. He’s now hitting .324. Ricky De La Torre went 2-5. Colton Burns was 1-3 and walked twice. Royce Lewis went 1-4, and he was hit by a pitch again. Carlos Suniaga made the start. He gave up two runs on three hits over three innings. He walked one and struck out three. Juan Mojica came on and gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks in 2.2 innings. He struck out two. Matz Schutte was next. He went 1.2 innings and was charged with four runs (two earned) on one hit and three walks. Vadim Balan gave up one hit over the final 1.2 innings to record his second save. He struck out one. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Nelson Molina, Ft. Myers THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Pawtucket @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - RHP Tim Melville Tennessee @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero Ft. Myers @ Tampa (6:00 CST) - LHP Lewis Thorpe Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - LHP Domenick Carlini Princeton @ Elizabethton (DH @ 4:00 CST) - RHPs Moises Gomez, Melvi Acosta GCL Rays @ GCL Twins (11:00 am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Wednesday’s games.
  9. Before we get to our Top 5 starting pitchers for the month of June, here is a list of a couple of others who deserve to be recognized for a solid month. HONORABLE MENTION Clark Beeker - Cedar Rapids - 4 GS, 23.1 IP, 2-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 24 H, 3 BB, 14 K Felix Jorge - Chattanooga - 5 GS, 34.0 IP, 3-0, 2.91 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 34 H, 5 BB, 31 K Lewis Thorpe - Ft. Myers - 4 G, 3 GS, 16.2 IP, 1-0, 1.62 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 13 H, 7 BB, 16 K. THE TOP FIVE STARTING PITCHERS #5 - Fernando Romero - Chattanooga Lookouts - 4 GS, 3-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 26.2 IP, 21 H, 8 BB, 27 K Romero was the choice for Twins Daily’s #1 prospect before the 2017 season, and he’s performed well in his jump to AA Chattanooga. While he started out a little slow, he has been quite good since mid-May. More important, he’s become more consistent. Along with the fantastic numbers listed above, about a strikeout each inning, opponents hit just .206/.283/.333 (.617) off Romero in June. He returned to the mound in 2016 after missing two years of playing time due to Tommy John surgery in 2014 and knee surgery in 2015. After three starts with the Kernels, he moved up to Ft. Myers where he continued to dominate until being shut down in late August. In November, he was added to the 40-man roster. #4 - Dereck Rodriguez - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 5 GS, 3-0, 2.60 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 27.2 IP, 19 H, 9 BB, 31 K Rodriguez was the Twins 2011 sixth-round pick. He spent the next three years as an outfielder. He then transitioned into a pitcher full time in 2014. He was moved along slowly, but about 12 months ago, he took off. He struggled for the first six weeks of the 2016 season in Cedar Rapids, but he pitched well, and earned a late-season promotion to Ft. Myers. He began 2017 as the Miracle Opening Day starter. He earned a spot on the Florida State League All-Star team and pitched an inning in the game. He started June in Ft. Myers, but he was promoted to the Lookouts for a start. He was sent back to the Miracle in order to pitch in the All-Star Game, but then was brought back up to the Lookouts. He put up very good numbers at both levels. In fact, opponents hit just .198/.264/.281 (.541) against him. He should spend the remainder of the season with the Lookouts. He could become a free agent following the season, unless the Twins put him on their 40-man roster. #3 - Tyler Wells - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 2-2, 1.96 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 17 H, 4 BB, 27 K Wells was the Twins 15th-round pick last year out of Cal State-San Bernadino. At 6-8, 265 pounds, Wells can look intimidating on the mound. He runs a fastball 91-94, but his best pitches may be his breaking balls, both a 12-6 curveball and a good slider. He returned from the disabled list at the end of May and started where he left off. In June, opponents hit just .202/.236/.226 (.462) off of him. Unfortunately, he is back on the disabled list after experiencing the same issue that put him on the DL for three weeks earlier this season. He is experiencing some issues in his shoulder. An MRI was conducted because it was his second time with this issue, but the results were inconclusive. It didn’t show that anything structural was wrong. He’ll be in the Twin Cities in the coming days for another look. #2- Cody Stashak - Ft. Myers Miracle - 3 GS, 2-0, 0.98 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 18.1 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 20 K A quick look at his raw numbers and it is hard to justify him not being #1 on this list. However, he made just three starts for the Miracle because he was placed on the DL on May 22 and didn’t return to the Miracle mound until June 15th. In half of the month, he was nearly unhittable. Opponents hit just .156/.217/.172 (.389) off him during the month. Stashak was the Twins 13th-round pick in 2015 out of St. Johns. He isn’t a flame-thrower, but he sits 90-93 and pounds the strike zone with a good three-pitch mix. He is a good athlete. If he keeps pitching well, he could be a candidate to move up to Chattanooga within the next month. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Chattanooga Lookouts - LHP Stephen Gonsalves - 5 GS, 4-1, 2.32 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 31.0 IP, 20 H, 8 BB, 38 K Maybe the lesson to be learned from these top starting pitcher performances in June is that if caught early and treated/rehabbed, pitchers can come back as strong, or even stronger. This month’s top starting pitcher is a great example of that. Gonsalves was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2013 out of high school in San Diego. He has quickly and consistently moved up each season. He was the Twins Daily choice for Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2016 as well as the Twins choice for their top minor league pitcher. His success caused the Twins to invite him to big league spring training this year. It was an experience he relished. “Big league camp, to me, was them telling me that I was close and need to keep driving and stay hungry. It was a great experience, meeting the guys and especially some of the veterans we had invited to camp. The other great thing about camp was that all my teammates were there with me, guys I've been playing with for the past couple years and it was awesome to go through the the experience with them.” He made a good impression at camp. Unfortunately, his spring training ended early as he was experiencing some discomfort behind his left shoulder. It was the same injury that cost him about a month during the Arizona Fall League. Because of it, he did not return to AA Chattanooga until mid-May. “Yes, it was very frustrating when I had to miss the first half of the season just because I'm always going to be the guy that wants to be out on the field competing.” In eight starts since his return, he has been very good. He is 4-3 with a 2.63 ERA. In 48 innings, he’s given up just 31 hits. He’s walked just ten and struck out 56. The concern with his AA numbers (which were astounding) in the second half of last season was the walks. He’s dropped that number while continuing to strike out more than a batter per inning. Gonsalves is choosing to take the time on the disabled list as a positive. “Although I think the injury was a little blessing in disguise. It was time for us to go over my mechanics for the last couple years and really get my entire body to work together as one. Once I came back, I started throwing a little harder, and I was more consistent with throwing strikes because my body was working together.” His fastball velocity is back, even consistently a little higher. Whereas he was 88-93 in the past, he’s now consistently 90-94. He breaking ball is better and his changeup remains a plus-plus pitch. While many wanted him to start his season in Rochester, and now he may just be ready for that jump, it was likely the best thing for him to start in AA Chattanooga. They were a winning team, competing for a playoff spot, he was with teammates he knew well, and a coach he has tremendous confidence in. As he notes, “I felt comfortable when I got back with my team in a place I had a lot of success at last year. So I was calm and relaxed. Back with working with Ivan (Arteaga, the Lookouts pitching coach) makes it feel like I never left, and I'm right where I should be.” The key to his success so far this season? In Gonsalves’s words, “The key this season has just been consistency, my delivery has made all my pitches easier for me to locate. It is letting me repeat everything easier.” And who knows, there may be another blessing in disguise to missing the first six weeks of the season. He will be under no innings limit, and as the Twins are struggling to find pitching, Gonsalves is a name that should receive a lot of consideration in another month, if not sooner. For now, it would seem the bump up to AAA Rochester should be considered following the International League All-Star Game. Gonsalves has to be added to the Twins 40-man roster after this season. So he could be a consideration for 2017, though the organization would certainly want to be sure that they won’t use an option. But September should be a real possibility. For now, we appreciate a terrific June performance by the left-hander. Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of June, Lookouts starter Stephen Gonsalves. Feel free to agree or disagree with the order, if you like. It wasn’t as easy a decision as you might think. There were several solid starters in June, and several really stood out.
  10. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 7, Lehigh Valley 4 Box Score Lehigh Valley has been the cream of the crop in the International League this season. In fact, the Red Wings were looking to avoid their 10th straight series loss to the IronPigs. Rochester pounced early as Zack Granite led off the bottom of the first with his third home run of the season. Mitch Garver followed with a double and he moved to third on a JB Shuck single. Matt Hague grounded into a double play but Rochester still took a 2-0 lead. Red Wings' starter Tim Melville ran into a little bit of trouble in the third. The first two batters reached on a hit-by-pitch and a walk before a three-run bomb gave Lehigh Valley the lead. Melville settled in from there and tossed five frames, scattering four hits. He struck out six and walked two. Phil Hughes made his third rehab appearance and allowed his first earned run, a solo home run. Drew Rucinski tossed two perfect innings while striking out two. Michael Tonkin earned his second save as he struck out the side in the ninth. Rochester took the lead in the fourth inning. Matt Hague and ByungHo Park both doubled to start the frame. Niko Goodrum drove in Park with a single before coming around to score on a Leonardo Reginatto double. The Red Wings were up 5-3. In the seventh inning, Hague drove in two important runs with his sixth home run of the season to cap off the Rochester victory. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 6, Pensacola 0 (Game 1- 7 Innings) Box Score Dereck Rodriguez was rocking in this game as he picked up his first Double-A victory. In six innings of work, he allowed two hits while striking out six and walking two. There was only one time he faced a batter with a runner in scoring position. Paul Clemens made things a little interesting in the seventh as he allowed a walk and a hit but he struck out the side to finish the game. Travis Harrison put the Lookouts on the board with a solo home run, his first, to start the second inning. In the fourth inning, LaMonte Wade came up with a huge two-out single with the bases loaded to score a pair of runs. Andy Wilkins started the next inning with a double and Brain Navarreto had to use a two-out single to score Wilkins from third. Wilkins drovein another run in the sixth. Edgar Corcino walked and Wade walked before Wilkins brought them both home. Corcino reached base in all four plate appearances. Wilkins finished with a three-hit night. Chattanooga 6, Pensacola 0 (Game 2- 7 Innings) Box Score After only needing one relief pitcher in the first game of the day, Fernando Romero made sure the Lookouts could avoid using the bullpen in this one. He was masterful over seven shutout innings as he struck out six and walked three. The Blue Wahoos only managed three hits and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Romero hasn't lost a game since the middle of May and he has pitched into the sixth inning in five straight appearances. Nick Gordon got things going in the first as he led off with a single. TJ White brought him home with a two-out hit. Travis Harrison created a run by himself in the second. He doubled, stole second, and then scored on a throwing error. In the third frame, Wade singled and Wilkins walked before Levi Michael cracked his eighth double. Gordon and Harrison each reached base three times in the winning effort. Alex Perez went 3-for-3. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 8, Florida 3 Box Score The Miracle pounded out 13 hits including a four-hit night from Max Murphy on their way to an 8-3 victory. Jaylin Davis and Mitchell Kranson each had multi-hit games with Kranson recording his first double. Tanner English reached base three times including a triple. In the fourth, Jermaine Palacios recorded his first FSL RBI with a sac-fly to right. Nelson Monlina was the lone batter in the line-up who failed to record a hit. Anthony McIver was credited with his second win after he allowed three runs on six hits with four strikeouts. Keaton Steele took over for McIver and tossed two scoreless frames. David Fischer and Andrew Vasquez combined for two more scoreless innings as Vasquez struck out all three batters in the final frame. The Miracle have an off-day Monday before the start of a seven-game homestand. Mets farmhand Tim Tebow was recently promoted to St. Lucie and the Miracle have four-games against his squad starting next Friday. Stay tuned... KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Quad Cities 2 Box Score The Kernels used a strong start from Clark Beeker and some timely hitting to come out on top in this one. Beeker pitched into the sixth inning, allowing one run on six hits. As part of his team-high seventh win, he struck out two and walked none. Max Cordy took over for Beeker and pitched 2.1 innings and he allowed one unearned run. He didn't surrender a hit but he walked three batters and struck out two. Hector Lujan pitched a scoreless ninth with a strikeout. With two outs in the first, Travis Blankenhorn singled before an Amaurys Minier double to stake Cedar Rapids to an early 1-0 lead. Caleb Hamilton and Ben Rortvedt cracked back-to-back homers to start the fourth frame. In the seventh inning with two outs, Rortvedt doubled in another run. Hank Morrison capped the scoring with a single to post a final score of 6-2. Minier reached base three times in six plate appearances. Christian Cavaness, Rortvedt and Morrison all had multi-hit games. The Kernels are now eight games over .500 on the season. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 12, Pulaski 3 Box Score The E-Twins compiled four three-run innings to blow out the Yankees. After trailing 1-0 early, Andrew Cosgrove singled to drive in a run and Jordan Gore doubled to plate two more. The fifth inning was the power inning as Matt Contreras and Brent Rooker both homered to extend the lead to 6-1. Contreras drove in another run with a bases-loaded single in the sixth. Carson Crites added a two-run double as the three-run inning streak continued. Six E-Twins batters had multi-hit nights led by Gore as he went 3-for-4 with two doubles. Melvi Acosta earned his first victory of the season. He scatted five hits over five innings while allowing three runs with five strikeouts. Jovani Moran was stellar in relief as he tossed three scoreless innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Juan Gamez finished with a scoreless ninth. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Fernando Romero, Chattanooga Lookouts (CG, 7 IP, 0 ER, 6 K, 3 BB, 3 H) Hitter of the Day – Max Murphy, Fort Myers Miracle (4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (4:35 CST) - LHP David Hurlbut (4-4, 3.36 ERA) Rochester @ Buffalo (Game 2) - RHP Aaron Slegers (6-4, 4.11 ERA) Chattanooga vs. Pensacola (6:15 CST) - RHP Randy LeBlanc (2-2 5.35 ERA) Fort Myers - Scheduled Off-Day Cedar Rapids vs. Burlington (6:35 CST) - RHP Tyler Wells (4-1 1.89 ERA) Elizabethton vs. Pulaski (6:00 CST) - RHP Griffen Jax (0-0, 0.00 ERA) GCL Twins vs. GCL Orioles (11:00 am CST)- TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  11. With that, let’s look at the minor league statistical leaderboard (through games on Saturday, June 10). THE HITTERS (Rate numbers- minimum 144 plate appearances) Chris Paul still finds his name on the leader board, but last week, he had surgery to fix a broken hamate bone. It is likely he will be out between six to eight weeks. Plate Appearances - Nick Gordon (261), Max Murphy (251), Travis Blankenhorn (245), Lewin Diaz (244), Jermaine Palacios (241), LaMonte Wade (237), Jaylin Davis (236). Batting Average - Chris Paul (.351), Jermaine Palacios (.327), Zack Granite (.320), Nick Gordon (.309), Edgar Corcino (.300), Aaron Whitefield (.291), Lewin Diaz (.286). On-Base Percentage - LaMonte Wade (.409), Chris Paul (.402), Mitch Garver (.396), Nick Gordon (.379), Ryan Walker (.376), Zack Granite (.370), Jermaine Palacios (.369). Slugging Percentage - Jermaine Palacios (.566), Jaylin Davis (.507), Chris Paul (.495), Nick Gordon (.489), Lewin Diaz (.482), Aaron Whitefield/Zander Wiel (.460). OPS - Jermaine Palacios (.936), Chris Paul (.897), Nick Gordon (.869), Mitch Garver (.843), Jaylin Davis (.825), Zack Granite (.814), Lewin Diaz (.810), Aaron Whitefield (.800). Hits - Jermaine Palacios (74), Nick Gordon (72), Chris Paul (66), Lewin Diaz (64), Max Murphy (63), Edgar Corcino (61), Jaylin Davis/Matt Hague (58), Aaron Whitefield (55). Doubles - Lewin Diaz (21), NIck Gordon (17), Chris Paul (16), Tommy Field (15), Niko Goodrum (14), Zander Wiel/Mitchell Kranson (13), Jermaine Palacios/Max Murphy/Travis Harrison (12). Triples - Jermaine Palacios (6), Nick Gordon/Zander Wiel (5), Zack Granite/Rafael Valera (4), 5 tied with 3. Home Runs - Jaylin Davis (12), Jermaine Palacios (10), Daniel Palka (8), Travis Blankenhorn/Lewin Diaz (7), Zander Wiel/Aaron Whitefield (6), 5 tied with 5. Runs Scored - Jermaine Palacios (46), Max Murphy (37), Nick Gordon (35), Jaylin Davis (34), Travis Blankenhorn/LaMonte Wade (33), Aaron Whitefield (32). RBI - Jaylin Davis (37), Jermaine Palacios/Lewin Diaz (35), Nick Gordon/Travis Blankenhorn (34), Zander Wiel (30), Chris Paul (28). SB - Aaron Whitefield (14), Zack Granite (13), Tanner English (9), Jermaine Palacios (8), Jaylin Davis/Max Murphy/Ryan Walker (6), 5 tied with 5. THE STARTING PITCHERS (Rate number - minimum 44.0 innings) Innings Pitched: Clark Beeker (70.2), Sean Poppen (68.1), Dereck Rodriguez (68.0), Aaron Slegers (66.0), Felix Jorge (65.0), Fernando Romero (64.2). ERA: Tyler Wells/Nik Turley (2.05), Dereck Rodriguez (2.51), Sean Poppen (2.63), Clark Beeker (70.2), Felix Jorge (3.32), David Hurlbut (3.44), Ryan Eades/Fernando Romero (3.48) WHIP: Nik Turley (0.91), Tyler Wells (0.96), Clark Beeker (0.96), Dereck Rodriguez (1.03), Sean Poppen (1.08), Ryan Eades (1.14), Lachlan Wells (1.20) K/9: Nik Turley (14.4), Tyler Wells (12.7), Eduardo Del Rosario (9.1), Fernando Romero (8.8), Sean Poppen (8.3), David Fischer (8.0), Dereck Rodriguez (7.8) BB/9: Clark Beeker (1.1), Dereck Rodriguez (1.5), Brady Anderson (1.6), Sean Poppen (1.8), Aaron Slegers/Lachlan Wells (1.9), David Hurlbut (2.0) K: Nik Turley (84), Sean Poppen/Fernando Romero/Eduardo Del Rosario (63), Tyler Wells (62), Dereck Rodriguez (59), Matt Tracy (51), Clark Beeker (49). THE RELIEF PITCHERS (Rate numbers - minimum 21.0 innings, and less than 2 starts) Innings Pitched: Sam Clay (31.0), Anthony McIver (30.0), Luke Bard (29.2), Williams Ramirez/DJ Baxendale (29.1), Tom Hackimer (29.0), Michael Theofanopoulos (28.1). ERA: John Curtiss (0.00), Nick Anderson/Andrew Vasquez (1.37), Randy Rosario (1.65), Colton Davis (1.67), Tom Hackimer (1.86), Alex Muren (1.88), Trevor Hildenberger/Todd Van Steensel (1.96). WHIP: Alan Busenitz (0.80), Randy Rosario (0.81), Drew Rucinski (0.857), Tom Hackimer (0.862), Nick Anderson (0.87), John Curtiss (0.955), Mason Melotakis (0.958), Hector Lujan (0.99). K/9: Luke Bard (14.6), Andrew Vasquez (13.3), John Curtiss (13.1), Alex Robinson (12.4), Trevor Hildenberger/Todd Van Steensel (10.6), Logan Lombana (10.2), Alan Busenitz/Sam Clay (9.9). BB/9: Hector Lujan (1.1), Drew Rucinski (1.2), Randy Rosario (2.0), Jonny Drozd/Nick Anderson (2.1), Tom Hackimer (2.5), Alan Busenitz/Trevor Hildenberger/Luke Bard (2.7). K: Luke Bard (48), Andrew Vasquez (39), Alex Robinson/Sam Clay (34), John Curtiss/Williams Ramirez (32), Tom Hackimer (31), Alan Busenitz/Williams Ramirez (29). Saves: John Curtiss (12), Tom Hackimer (6), Mason Melotakis/Alex Wimmers/Hector Lujan(4), Trevor Hildenberger/Jonny Drozd/Max Cordy (3). Feel free to ask questions about any of the players or teams.
  12. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 2, Syracuse 3 Box Score Syracuse was threatening in many of the early innings but Aaron Slegers continued to find ways to get out of the jam. The Chiefs had runners in scoring position in the first, second and fourth innings before they eventually broke through in the sixth. A pair of doubles and a pair of singles would sink Slegers. In 6.2 innings, he ended up allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out four and walking three. Rochester tried to answer back in the bottom of the sixth. Engelb Vielma and Zach Granite started the frame with singles. With one out, Matt Hague lifted a sacrifice fly to center. Granite came around to score after two wild pitches from Chiefs' starter AJ Cole. However, the two runs wouldn't be enough. Many Twins fans are on bullpen watch as the big league squad could use some help. Michael Tonkin allowed base runners in both innings he worked but he worked out of both jams with a couple of strikeouts. Ryan Pressly struck out the side in the ninth but he also allowed a pair of hits. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 2, Jackson 3 Box Score Chattanooga wasted a strong start from Ryan Eades as Jackson wasn't able to score until the Lookouts' bullpen got into the game. Eades only allowed one hit and struck out three in five innings. Randy LeBlanc struggled in the sixth as he surrendered three runs on four hits. Todd Van Steensel struck out two and walked two in an inning. Jake Reed pitched two scoreless frames by allowing one hit. Before the bullpen blow-up, the Lookouts held a 2-0 lead. Ryan Strausborger and TJ White started the second with a pair of doubles. With one one out in the inning, Nick Gordon brought in Strausborger for the first run. In the fifth inning, Gordon cracked his fifth home run which is already as many home runs as he had in his first three professional seasons combined. Jonathan Rodriguez reached base four times in five at-bats with a double and a pair of walks. Gordon, Strausborger, and Ryan White all had multi-hit efforts. The team went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and out-hit Jackson 10 to 6. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 1, Tampa 2 (Game 1- 7 Innings) Box Score Fort Myers jumped out to an early 1-0 thanks to a lead-off home run from Max Murphy. The hits were few and far between for the rest of the game. The Miracle went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Murphy was the lone batter to finish with multiple hits as he added a double and reached on a walk. Nelson Molina went 1-for-3 with a double. Brady Anderson suffered his second loss in as many starts. In the top of the third, he allowed a one out walk that came back to haunt him. The next batter knocked a two-run home run that turned out to be the difference in the game. Anderson stuck out four and walked two in six innings. Williams Ramirez pitched a scoreless seventh with a strikeout. Fort Myers 2, Tampa 1 (Game 2- 7 Innings) Box Score Fort Myers turned things around on Tampa in the second game of the double-header. Much like the Miracle did in game one, the Yankees jumped out to an early 1-0 first inning lead. Derek Rodriguez allowed a triple and single to the first two batters of the game. He settled in from there and went on quite the run. Rodriguez retired 11 straight batters at one point on his way to a complete game (even if it was only seven innings). He struck 10 batters for only the third time in his career. It was the first time he had accomplished this feat since last July. There have been only three starts this season where he has allowed more than three runs. Murphy was in the middle of the offensive action for the second straight game. He tripled to lead off the fourth inning. Alex Perez knocked him in with a single. After two consecutive walks to load the bases, Kevin Garcia grounded into a double play that pushed in the second run. Fort Myers only had three hits but that's all they would need. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 1, Clinton 4 Box Score The Kernels struggled to get the bats going in this one and found themselves in an early hole. Domenick Carlini allowed four runs on eight hits while taking his fourth loss of the season. He struck out eight and didn't give up a walk. Logan Lombana allowed only one base runner over the last three innings to keep the game close. All four LumberKings runs were scored with two outs in the inning. Cedar Rapids' top six hitters in the line-up combined to go 3-for-22 with no extra-base hits in the loss. Brandon Lopez went 2-for-3 but failed to come around and score. Ben Rortvedt collected his fifth double and drove in the team's lone run. Lewin Diaz and Mitchell Kranson each went 1-for-4. With the loss, the Kernels drop to 34-26 and they still hold their playoff destiny in their own hands. It was only the third series loss for Cedar Rapids this season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Fort Myers Miracle (7 IP, 1 ER, 10 K, 1 BB) Hitter of the Day – Max Murphy, Fort Myers Miracle (3-for-6, HR, 3B, 2B, BB 2 R) FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Syracuse (6:05 CST) - LHP Adam Wilk (0-0, 4.26 ERA) Chattanooga @ Montgomery (7:05 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero (4-5, 3.51 ERA) Fort Myers vs. Tampa (6:05 CST) - RHP David Fischer (3-4, 4.02 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. Burlington (6:35 CST) - RHP Clark Beeker (5-2, 2.51 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games.
  13. Transaction Alert The Red Wings added Ryan Pressly, reinstated Engelb Vielma from the temporary inactive list (paternity leave) and sent Nik Turley back to Chattanooga. Also, Rochester won't be needing to make room for Jason Wheeler, as he has been traded to the Dodgers. https://twitter.com/LaVelleNeal/status/870847189752332289 Award Announcement John Curtiss was named the Southern League Relief Pitcher of the Month for May. In eight games, 9.1 IP, Curtiss had a 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, gave up just four hits and struck out 12. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 6, Norfolk 2 Box Score David Hurlbut gor off to a rocky start, giving up two runs in the first, but the Wings staff shut out the Tides from there on. The Rochester bats managed to string together a four-run third inning despite not recording an extra-base hit in that frame. Zack Granite led off the game with a triple, drew a walk in that big third inning and added a double in the fifth. He scored three runs on the night. Matt Hague and Tommy Field also had multi-hit games. Despite his early struggles, Hurlbut turned in a quality start. Over six innings he gave up six hits, did not walk a batter and struck out two. Drew Rucinski followed with clean innings in the seventh and eighth before Michael Tonkin pitched a perfect ninth inning. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 3, Birmingham 2 Box Score Felix Jorge continued to roll, as he pitched into the seventh inning for the fourth-consecutive start. He also tied a season high with six strikeouts. Heading into the seventh frame, Jorge had a two-hit shutout in the works. After giving up a solo home run and a single, his night was done. Jake Reed was thrown right into the fire for his 2017 debut, and struggled to find the zone. He walked three-consecutive batters, causing the runner he inherited from Jorge to score, before finally recording the final out of the inning on a strikeout. I’d relay Reed's radar gun readings, but let’s just say the Birmingham gun was unreliable. https://twitter.com/BaseballByTom/status/870826369562931201 With the game tied in the top of the eighth, Edgar Corcino hit a leadoff single and later came around to score on a Dan Gamache double. Corcino was the only Chattanooga batter to record a multi-hit game, bumping his average up to .301 on the year. Nick Gordon hit his 15th double of the season, putting him in a tie for the Southern League lead. Seth Stohs recently provided an update of his prospect rankings which had Gordon at the top spot. John Curtiss pitched a perfect ninth inning, picking up his 26th strikeout (over 18.2 IP) and 10th save of the season. All it took was 10 pitches, eight of which were strikes. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 2, Bradenton 0 Box Score Daniel Kihle’s two-run homer was the difference maker in this pitcher’s duel. Dereck Rodriguez, Williams Ramirez and Alex Muren combined to shut out the Marauders. Rodriguez went six innings, gave up just three hits (all singles) and a walk while striking out six. You’d be hard pressed to find a pitcher in the Twins system who’s had a better year than Rodriguez. He lowered his ERA to 2.66 and his WHIP is at 1.07 for the season. He has nearly five times as many strikeouts (49) as walks (10) and has averaged a hair over six innings per start. Second baseman Alex Perez was 1-for-2, drew the Miracle’s only two walks of the game and scored on the Kihle homer. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Burlington 0 Box Score Domenick Carlini had his best start of the season, limiting the Bees to three hits and two walks over six innings while tallying two strikeouts. Patrick McGuff (0.1 IP), Max Cordy (1.2 IP) and Hector Lujan (1 IP) secured the shutout, giving Carlini his third win. Lujan also picked up his third save. The Kernels failed to record an extra-base hit in this one, but managed to string together some runs thanks in large part to Aaron Whitefield’s speed. The Aussie outfielder led off the third inning with a walk, went first-to-third on a Travis Blankenhorn single, then scored the first run of the game on an Ariel Montesino sac fly. In the fifth inning, Whitefield hit an RBI single, stole second base (his 12th of the season) and scored on a Blankenhorn sac fly. That’s right, he scored from second base on a sac fly. The win put Cedar Rapids up to 32-23 in what is shaping up to be a special first season under rookie manager Tommy Watkins. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher(s) of the Day – Felix Jorge (6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K) & Dereck Rodriguez (6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K) Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Aaron Whitefield (1-for-2, BB, RBI, 2 R, SB) SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Norfolk, 6:05 pm CT, Aaron Slegers (3.81 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) Chattanooga at Birmingham, 6:30 pm CT, TBD Fort Myers at Palm Beach, 4:30 pm CT, David Fischer (3.35 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) Cedar Rapids at Burlington, 6:30 pm CT, Clark Beeker (2.50 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday's games.
  14. Transactions: Jake Reed assigned to Chattanooga from Rochester, Ryan Pressly optioned to Rochester from Minnesota, Jason Wheeler designated for assignment from Minnesota, Alex Wimmers promoted to Minnesota from Rochester, Randy LeBlanc promoted to Chattanooga from Fort Myers, Nick Anderson promoted to Chattanooga from Fort Myers, Randy Rosario promoted to Minnesota from Chattanooga, Andrew Vasquez promoted to Fort Myers from Cedar Rapids.Logan Lombana returns to Cedar Rapids from extended spring training. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3 @ Durham 6 Box Score Rochester's bullpen has a 1.08 ERA over the last seven games, including 19.2 consecutive scoreless innings headed into Thursday night’s game and Niko Goodrum has a nine-game hitting streak. The scoreless innings streak came to an end as Alan Busenitz gave up a run in the seventh inning, but Goodrum extended his streak on a 3-4 night that included a double and a pair of RBI. Leonardo Reginatto also had a pair of hits, including a double and a walk, but the rest of the Red Wings squad had just two hits. ByungHo Park was 0-3 with two strikeouts and a walk. The Red Wings were down 6-0 before they pushed three runs across in the eighth to make the final score look respectable. Red Wings starter Nik Turley gave up five runs over 6.1 innings, including three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Turley struck out seven to go along with just one walk. Busenitz was charged with an earned run over 1.2 innings of work, he struck out three and walked none. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1 @ Birmingham 3 Box Score Nick Gordon entered the game leading the Southern League in extra-base hits (23) and got to enjoy the night off in Birmingham. The Lookouts bats sputtered without him, just 1-11 with runners in scoring position, and scoring just a single run despite FIVE doubles. Ryan Strausborger was 2-3 with a double and a run scored, the only Lookout with more than one hit. Lookouts starter Matt Tracy pitched very well, 7.0 innings, just five hits, two runs (both earned) and he struck out four against just one walk. Unfortunately for Tracy, he gave up a pair of solo home runs, and without any run support was tagged with his fourth loss of the season. Mason Melotakis gave up a run on two hits in one inning of relief. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 1 @ Bradenton 5 Box Score Before the game it was announced that Chris Paul, Dereck Rodriguez, Sam Clay, and Brian Navarreto were all selected to the Florida State League All-Star Game. The Miracle could have used some all-star bats on Thursday night as they stranded 13 runners! The Miracle bunched their hits at the top of the order with leadoff man Max Murphy picking up three singles on a 3-5 night (he also scored the lone run), and the next batter up, Nelson Molina, was 3-5 as well. Zander Wiel the third hitter in the lineup, had a pair of hits and a walk on a 2-4 night. The three combined for 8 of the Miracle’s 10 hits. Brady Anderson was tagged with his first loss of the season after giving up four runs (all earned) in 5.0 innings. He gave up nine hits, including a home run, walked two, and struck out three. He was replaced by Tom Hackimer for 2.0 innings. Hackimer gave up three hits, a run and two walks. Michael Theofanopoulos closed out the pitching for the Miracle with three strikeouts in the eighth inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Quad Cities 1 @ Cedar Rapids 11 Box Score The Kernels made up for the lackluster hitter performances in the rest of the system on Thursday night, exploding for 11 runs. Travis Blankenhorn led the way (and hit leadoff, how perfect) with a 2-4 night that included a triple and a home run. Jermaine Palacios had three hits, Jaylin Davis, Mitchell Kranson and Aaron Whitefield each had a pair of hits for the Kernels, and Lewin Diaz and Caleb Hamilton each had a hit of his own. In addition to Blankenhorn’s solo home run in the fifth inning, Aaron Whitefield hit one too. Sean Poppen picked up his fourth win of the year to move to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.12 with 6.1 innings of five-hit baseball. He gave up one run, unearned, struck out five, and did not walk anyone. Logan Lombana went 2.2 perfect innings to finish off the River Bandits, striking out five of the seven batters he faced (he induced a double-play to the first batter he faced in the seventh). TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Matt Tracy, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Niko Goodrum, Rochester Red Wings FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Norfolks (6:05pm) – David Hurlbut (2-3, 3.41) Chattanooga @ Birmingham (7:05pm) – Felix Jorge (5-1, 3.48) Ft. Myers @ Bradenton (5:30pm) - Dereck Rodriguez (3-2, 2.95) Cedar Rapids @ Burlington (6:30pm) – Domenick Carlini (2-3, 5.65) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday's games.
  15. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Pawtucket 1 Box Score For the second straight Sunday, Jose Berrios was on the mound as he continued his masterful start to the season. The only trouble he faced in the game came with two outs in the top of the first. He allowed back-to-back doubles that pushed across the lone Pawtucket run of the game. Berrios pitched 6.2 innings while allowing one earned run on six hits. He struck out four and walked none. Minnesota could call him up to make his next start at the big league level. Rochester responded quickly in the bottom of the first. Zack Granite and JB Shuck led off the inning with singles. Tommy Field drove in both runners with his eighth double of the season. Rochester wouldn't trail for the rest of the game. Granite created the next run for the Red Wings as well. He started the third with a single, stole second, and Field drove him him with a single. With little margin for error, the bullpen played an important role in this game. Buddy Boshers relieved Berrios in the seventh. He was able to strand a runner at second while keeping Rochester up two. Trevor Hildenberger allowed one hit during his inning of work but a big strikeout helped him leave a runner in scorning position. Alex Wimmers struck out the first two batters of the ninth before a walk and a single put the tying run on base. A groundout ended the threat and Wimmers earned his third save. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 4, Pensacola 2 (Game 1- seven Innings) Box Score Nick Gordon started this game with a bang for the Lookouts. His first inning triple put Chattanooga in position to tie this game in the early going. Engelb Vielma drove him in with a single. From there, the team's bats went cold until a big sixth inning. In that sixth frame, all the damage was done with two outs. Jonathan Rodriguez singled and was followed by a LaMonte Wade double. Travis Harrison plated two runs with a single. He wasn't on base very long as the next batter, Ryan Walker, tripled to score Harrison. Gordon ended the game 2-for-3 with two extra-base hits and a run scored. Kohl Stewart started for Chattanooga but couldn't make it out of the fifth inning. In 4.2 innings, he allowed two earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks. He has a 5.63 ERA for the season. Todd Van Steensel earned his third victory out of the bullpen. He didn't allow a base runner over the last 2.1 innings while striking out two. Chattanooga 3, Pensacola 2 (Game 2- eight Innings) Box Score For the second straight game, Nick Gordon helped the Lookouts get off to a fast start. He led off the first inning with a walk. Levi Michael and Edgar Corcino followed with singles put Chattanooga out to an early 1-0 lead. Ryan Eades got the start and didn't run into any trouble until the top of the fifth inning. A pair of singles and a triple pushed across a pair of runs as Pensacola took a 2-1 lead. That lead would be short lived as Chattanooga used a Jonathan Rodriguez double and a fielding error to tie up the game in the bottom of the frame. After Eades exited, the bullpen put up zeros the rest of the way. John Curtiss pitched two scoreless innings and he has yet to allow a run this year. Nick Burdi saw two base runners reach against him but put the team in position to win. This game headed to extra-innings as it was scheduled to be two seven-inning contests. In the bottom of the eighth, Corcino lead-off with a walk. Jonathan Rodriguez followed with a single that moved Corcino all the way to third. LaMonte Wade got to play the hero with a walk-off single over an outfield that was playing in. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 6, St. Lucie 0 Box Score Fort Myers and starting pitcher Dereck Rodriguez found themselves in the middle of quite the pitchers duel. Rodriguez had limited the Mets to two hits in seven innings of work but the offense didn't decide to show up until the last two innings. Rodriguez didn't allow a run and struck out three on the way to his second victory. St. Lucie removed their starter in the eighth and Fort Myers was able to break through. With one out, Max Murphy was hit by a pitch. Nelson Molina cracked a two-run shot. Two batters latter Zander Wiel knocked his third home run of the season, a two-run shot that pushed the lead to 4-0. In the top of the ninth, Fort Myers was able to add some insurance runs. Max Murphy started it again with a single to center. Nelson Molina doubled and Murphy came all the way around to score. Chris Paul followed Molina's double with a single to add one more run. Williams Ramirez replaced Rodriguez and allowed one runner in both of his innings of work. In the eighth, a batter reached with a one out walk. In the ninth, a batter reached with a one-out single. Over two shutout innings, he struck out three. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Fort Wayne 1 Box Score Clark Beeker won his fourth consecutive start on Sunday after tossing six strong innings. It was his fourth quality start as he limited the TinCaps to one earned run. He retired eight straight batters at one point in the contest and he allowed only one runner to get into scoring position. Beeker struck out six and walked one. The first big hit of the game came in the second inning off the bat of Christian Cavaness. Travis Blankenhorn and Ariel Montesino reached base with walks before Cavaness belted a two-run double. In the fifth frame, Aaron Whitfield led off the inning with a single and scored on a Lewin Diaz one-out double. Blankenhorn brought in Diaz with a two-out single to push the lead to 4-0. Max Cordy took over for Beeker and pitched three scoreless innings. He struck out three and walked one. It was his longest outing of the season and he leads the team with three saves. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Fort Myers Miracle (7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 K) Hitter of the Day – Nick Gordon, Chattanooga Lookouts (2-for-5, 2B, 3B, 2R, 2 BB) MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST)- TBD Chattanooga @ Montgomery (7:05 CST) - TBD Fort Myers vs. Palm Beach (5:35 CST) - RHP Cody Stashak (0-3, 4.00 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Dayton (6:00 CST)- RHP Eduardo Del Rosario (2-1, 3.04 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  16. The Twins had an off day on Monday. So did the Rochester Red Wings and the Cedar Rapids Kernels. But Chattanooga played an early game and the Miracle had a very nice win in the evening. Find out more of what happened in the Twins system on Monday. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester Box Score No Game Scheduled. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 5, Jackson 2 Box Score The Lookouts played an afternoon game, a get-away day before an off day on Tuesday. They were able to leave Jackson with a win. Felix Jorge improved to 3-1 on the season. The right-hander gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out two. Luke Bard came on and struck out three over two perfect innings. Mason Melotakis - our choice for Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month - tossed another scoreless inning to earn his third save. He now has thrown 11.2 scoreless innings to start the season. Edgar Corcino certainly helped the team to a win. He had an RBI double, his fifth of the season. He also gave the Lookouts some cushion in the ninth with a run-scoring sacrifice fly. Dan Gamache drove in a run in the ninth inning also on a 2-5 day from the third baseman. Engelb Vielma went 2-5. Levi Michael had a strong game. He went 1-2 with two walks and his second double. Nick Gordon went 1-3 with two walks. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 4, Daytona 1 Box Score On Monday, Max Murphy was named the Florida State League Player of the Week. His first game of the new week was pretty good too. The outfielder from Minnesota went 3-4 with his fifth double and first triple. He was a homer shy of a cycle. Shane Kennedy went 2-4 with his first home run and two RBIs. It was his first home run in affiliated ball, in just his second game. The utility player played for three colleges including his two final college seasons at Clemson. Undrafted, he spent the 2016 season playing for Southern Illinois of the Frontier League where he hit .363/.465/.513 (.978) with 24 doubles and five homers. The Twins signed the 25-year-old this spring to a minor league deal. He went to extended spring training but was called up to the Miracle on Sunday. Dereck Rodriguez was terrific again. The right-hander gave up just one run on five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out six. It gave him his first win of the season and dropped his ERA to 2.78. Williams Ramirez pitched a perfect eighth inning. Nick Anderson recorded his first save with a perfect ninth inning which included two strikeouts. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids Box Score No Game Scheduled. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Max Murphy, Ft. Myers Miracle TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (5:05 CST) - LHP David Hurlbut Chattanooga - No Game Scheduled Daytona @ Ft. Myers (5:35 CST) - RHP Cody Stashak Lake County @ Cedar Rapids - RHP Eddie Del Rosario Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday night’s games.
  17. Find out everything that happened in the Twins minor league system on Wednesday. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 2, Buffalo 5 Box Score David Hurlbut was the one starting pitcher who hadn’t made a start, until Wednesday. He worked 5.1 innings and was charged with four runs, though none of them were earned. The Red Wings defense committed four errors in the game. Hurlbut gave up five hits, walked two and struck out four. He was replaced by Raul Fernandez, who made his AAA debut. The right-hander allowed the inherited runners to score and later one of his own in 1.2 innings. He struck out two. Buddy Boshers worked a perfect inning, striking out one. Offensively, the Red Wings weren’t able to score until after they were down 5-0. In the eighth, they got RBI singles from Leonardo Reginatto and Matt Hague, but it wasn’t enough. Hague went 2-4. Ben Paulsen was also 2-4. Niko Goodrum went 2-4 and is now hitting .381 on the young season. Chad Allen argued a strike call early in the game. The umpire didn’t like that and ejected the Red Wings hitting coach. With the loss, the Red Wings are now 4-2 on the season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Jacksonville 7 Box Score The Lookouts took their show on the road for the first time this season with a series at Jacksonville against the Jumbo Shrimp. Jacksonville has four players on their roster with Twins ties. LHP Matt Tomshaw will start for them on Thursday. Jeremias Pineda is an outfielder. Omar Bencomo split last season with the Lookouts and Red Wings. He signed with the Marlins after pitching for Venezuela in the WBC. He’ll start on Friday night. Finally, RHP Chris Mazza is also on their roster. The biggest bit of news is from tonight’s game is that Nick Gordon started at second base. After starting all five games in Chattanooga at shortstop, he moved to the other side of second with Engelb Vielma taking over at shortstop. We will see how it plays out over the next weeks and even the next few games. It makes more sense to let them settle in at a position for several games rather than moving back and forth too often. Now to the game. Frankly, it didn’t go well. Kohl Stewart was on the mound for his second start. The right-hander went just 2.1 innings. He was charged with seven runs on four hits. He walked five and struck out three. Just 37 of his 75 pitches were strikes. But the bullpen kept things where they were, combining for 5.2 scoreless innings. Todd Van Steensel came on and struck out six batters in 2.2 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and walked none. Randy Rosario, who came up from the Miracle earlier in the day, worked two perfect innings. Nick Burdi gave up a hit, but struck out two, in a scoreless eighth inning. The offense managed just five hits in the game. Engelb Vielma went 2-4. The Lookouts scored their lone run in the fourth inning. Dan Rohlfing hit a triple and scored on a Jonathan Rodriguez groundout. Dan Gamache was 1-2 with a walk. The loss evened the Lookouts record at 3-3. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 2, Tampa 3 Box Score The Miracle got a tremendous start, and they had a late lead, but in the end, they lost in walk-off fashion. Down 1-0 after three innings, the Miracle scored on in the fourth. Chris Paul and Rafael Valera led off the inning with walks. Brian Navarreto advance them with a bunt, and Trey Vavra drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly. An inning later, Casey Scoggins drove in Nelson Molina with a single to give the Miracle a lead. Dereck Rodriguez was terrific. Through seven innings, he gave up just one run. He gave up a solo home run to lead off the top of the eighth inning which tied the game at two. He got through the inning. On the night, Rodriguez went eight innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He struck out six without issuing a walk. In the bottom of the ninth, Michael Theofanopoulos came on. He gave up a one-out double. With two outs, he gave up a single that scored the winning run. The Miracle fell to 1-6 on the young season. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Kane County 1 Box Score The Kernels played a morning game, got a win and will start a homestand against Wisconsin on Thursday night. Eddie Del Rosario started out well. He struck out three in the first inning. Through three innings, he faced nine batters and had five strikeouts. However, he struggled in the fifth inning, loading the bases and allowing a run before being removed. His final line was one earned run on three hits, two walks and a hit batter in 4.2 innings. He struck out seven. Andrew Vasquez came on and got out of the fifth and worked three more innings without allowing a run. He gave up just one hit, walked one and struck out three. Colton Davis worked a perfect ninth frame, striking out two. The offense was pretty spread out. Jermaine Palacios led off and was 2-4 to raise his early-season average to .360. Mitchell Kranson went 2-4, and his first homer of the season came right after Kane County had tied the game at one. Jaylin Davis added his first homer of the year in the eighth inning. He also stole his second base. Ariel Montesino went 1-3 with a walk. The win pushes the Kernels back over .500 at 4-3. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Mitchell Kranson, Cedar Rapids Kernels THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (12:05 CST) - RHP Jose Berrios Chattanooga @ Jacksonville - (6:05 CST) - LHP Matt Tracy Ft. Myers @ Daytona (6:05 CST) - RHP Cody Stashak Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – RHP Tyler Wells Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Wednesday's games.
  18. Today we look at the Ft. Myers Miracle players and coaching staff. We try to figure out a solid everyday lineup, and discuss the top prospects. Feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the team or roster, and ask as many questions as you would like. COACHING STAFF The last time Ft. Myers fans saw Doug Mientkiewicz in a Miracle uniform, he was leading the team to the 2014 Florida State League championship. He was moved up to Chattanooga where he helped the Lookouts to the 2015 Southern League championship. In 2017, he is back in his home state of Florida with the Miracle. In his four seasons as a minor league manager, he has an impressive 312-239 record. With the retirement of Jim Dwyer, the Miracle will have a new hitting coach for the first time since 2006. Dwyer had been a coach in the Twins system dating back to 1991. Steve Singleton takes over as the team’s new hitting coach after spending 2016 with the GCL Twins. He reached AAA with the Twins during his six seasons as a player in the organization. Henry Bonilla will be in his second season as the team’s pitching coach. It is his sixth season as a coach in the organization. He pitched in the Twins organization for seven minor league seasons. ROSTERS Here is a look at the Ft. Myers Miracle Opening Day roster. 16 of the players spent at least some time with the Miracle last year. One player, Randy Rosario, is on the 40-man roster. HITTERS Catchers: Kevin Garcia, Brian Navarreto, AJ Murray (DL), Infielders: Trey Vavra, Zander Wiel, Luis Arraez, Sean Miller, Nelson Molina, Alex Perez, Chris Paul, Brian Olson (DL), Outfielders: Daniel Kihle, Max Murphy, Rafael Valera PITCHERS Starting Pitchers: Randy LeBlanc, Dereck Rodriguez, Cody Stashak, Keaton Steele, Lachlan Wells, Andro Cutura (DL-elbow), Henry Centeno (DL) Relief Pitchers: Sam Clay, Jonny Drozd, Anthony McIver, Alex Muren (DL), Williams Ramirez, Randy Rosario, Michael Theofanopoulos, Todd Van Steensel, Nick Anderson (DL), Cameron Booser (DL), Michael Cederoth (DL), Henry Centeno (DL) POTENTIAL LINEUP 2B - Luis Arraez SS - Nelson Molina 1B - Trey Vavra DH - Zander Wiel 3B - Chris Paul CF - Daniel Kihle RF - Max Murphy C - AJ Murray LF - Rafael Valera TOP PROSPECTS Luis Arraez - He can flat-out hit. He has hit everywhere he’s played, including the Venezuelan Winter League. His .347 average led the Midwest League a year ago. Lachlan Wells - The Australian posted a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts (71.1 innings) as a 19-year-old last year. Pitched for Team Australia in the WBC. Randy Rosario - Rosario has a strong showing in big league spring training, but he was also moved to the bullpen full time and will start with the Miracle. Cody Stashak - Not a big guy, but Stashak just gets the job done well. He sits 91-92 with a fastball. He has good control of three good pitches. Under-the-radar prospect. Nelson Molina - had a breakout season in 2016, hitting .300 with a strong OBP in Cedar Rapids. STORIES TO WATCH The Australian starter Lachlan Wells will be fun to watch. Wells is 20. He put up strong numbers as a 19-year-old in Cedar Rapids. Wells, along with fellow Australian (who should pitch for the Miracle sometime in 2017) could be Top 10 Twins prospects by season’s end. And who knows, maybe Todd Van Steensel will help secure a couple of their wins. What can Luis Arraez do in the Florida State League. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but will he continue to be able to post incredible batting average with the bigger ballparks? As a prospect, however, he’ll have to improve his defense. But again, the batting average will be something to watch. Alex Muren missed the entire 2016 season due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. He will start the season on the DL, but he’s one reliever who could advance quickly to Chattanooga when ready and needed. The same can be said of Van Steensel and Randy Rosario. A lot was made of Tyler Jay’s move to the bullpen. The club’s decision to move Randy Rosario was made less than a week earlier, and Rosario was happy about that. Before spring training, the organization also decided to move another left-handed starter, Sam Clay, to the bullpen. He was a reliever in college and really struggled with command. He should see an improvement in stuff and velocity with the move, but he’ll have to improve his control. Dereck Rodriguez was the Twins 6th round pick in 2011 out of high school. He spent three years as a hitter. He has now spent the last three seasons as a pitcher, the last two as a starter. He moved up to Ft. Myers for the final two months of last season, and then he pitched out of the bullpen throughout the offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Can he take a step forward on the mound again in 2017? Enough for the Twins to add him to the 40-man roster after the season? Please feel free to discuss this roster. Ask lots of questions and check back often. What stories will you be following?
  19. Below you will find a smorgasbord of topics regarding the Twins minor leagues. Although it is not known for sure, the assumption is that the Twins will make their first big league roster cuts on Monday. On Sunday, the Twins will play a split doubleheader so they’ll need all the players they can get. Expect the first cut to involve a lot of players. 40-man roster guys who aren’t going to compete for a big league job will likely be in that first group. Also starting pitchers who aren’t really competing for an Opening Day roster spot should also be sent down. They need to start building up their pitch count to be ready to throw 80-90 pitches in a game by Opening Day. So, who is in minor league camp will certainly change several times. Dereck Rodriguez is on the Puerto Rico WBC roster, but you may have seen pictures of him in Ft. Myers. He is an alternate on the Puerto Rico team, and so he is staying in Ft. Myers to continue to work and prepare himself for the season. If Puerto Rico advances to the second round (pretty likely, I would think) Rodriguez could join them then. Tommy Watkins saw me at the end of practice on Friday. I congratulated him on getting an opportunity to manage. He is very excited for the opportunity. He’s been working with minor league players the last couple of months. He said that almost 100 players reported before minor league report day. Again, the academy is creating an opportunity for players to put in work before they even have to. Watkins also said that they were doing community events three to four times a week. They visited hospitals and schools and conducted a couple of camps. Trey Cabbage injured his foot in minor league camp. He called it a “stupid freak accident.” He hopes to get back on the field within a couple of weeks. Trevor Hildenberger threw a bullpen today. He said it went well and his elbow is “all good” and he’s going “full bore.” Speaking of guys returning, Lewis Thorpe was back on the mound, and he is ‘full-go’ to do all spring training activities. He was a Top 10 Twins prospect before he missed two seasons with, first, Tommy John surgery and then a season-long illness. He could certainly get back to that status by the end of the year. It will be an interesting season for him. Will he start in extended spring training to avoid Cedar Rapids in April? Could he just start with the Miracle? It’ll be interesting to see his innings limit, but he’s essentially where Fernando Romero was a year ago at this time so that’s probably a good barometer. https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/840590775616450560 I met Nelson Molina last May in Cedar Rapids. The infielder had spent a month with the Kernels and was off to a good start. He ended the year hitting .300/.374/.381 (.755) and was named to the Twins Daily Minor League All-Star team as a third baseman. As I mentioned in the Twins Minor League Primer earlier this week, Molina was coming back from injury. He had a broken hamate bone. At the end of practice, Molina came over to me and we discussed the injury. It was in his right hand. He was playing in his first game in the Puerto Rico Winter League and he flew out to left field in an at-bat and felt pain in his hand. His doctor told him that the bone was already broken and he didn’t even know it. He said he is almost thankful that it happened in the winter so that he could have surgery right away. Had he not played in Puerto Rico, he would have come to spring training and it would have broken early in spring training. Instead of just now having surgery, he is 100% and ready for the season. Like so many, Molina was up late on Friday night watching Team Puerto Rico beat Venezuela in the WBC. At the Twins Academy, the WBC has become must-watch TV. https://twitter.com/HackAttackimer/status/840713479468269568 And the most important thing I’ve learned through one-plus days of minor league camp… The Twins got rid of their old rule that minor leaguers could not have beards. Young adults can be treated like adults. They can be individuals. Next up, maybe baseball will let minor leaguers get paid a fair wage. One thing at a time, right? The last three days, the minor leaguers have been working in four work groups.On Sunday, they will work out in the morning and then at noon there will be intrasquad games. Rochester will take on Chattanooga on one field, and Fort Myers will challenge Cedar Rapids on the other field. The same thing will happen on Monday, though the “GCL Twins” will take on Bethel University again this year. Bethel, as you recall, is coached by former Gopher and former Twins player Brian Raabe. Tuesday will be more afternoon intrasquad games. Starting Wednesday, the teams will start playing against other teams. It will be AAA vs AAA, and AA vs AA and so on. They will play teams of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays. On those days, two teams will travel and two teams will play on the back fields. We’ll be back with more throughout the next week. Again, feel free to use the comments section below to ask questions about this article or things you would like me to dig into on the back fields.
  20. There are five Twins minor league players who were drafted by the Twins in 2011 who have yet to reach the big leagues. Could they be called up sometime during the 2017 season? Could they be added to the 40-man roster following the season, before the World Series is complete and become free agents? 2010 draft pick Niko Goodrum spent the first half of the 2016 season on the disabled list. Following the season he could have become a minor league free agent, but instead, he quickly re-signed with the Twins. Fellow 2010 draft pick Alex Wimmers could have become a free agent after the Twins took him off of their 40-man roster following the season. Instead, he quickly returned to the Twins on a minor league contract. Both are playing well in spring training. So while it would be great for these five players to have big seasons in 2017 and force the Twins hand, doors could open up for them after the season via free agency, or they could choose to stay in the Twins organization. LEVI MICHAEL The Twins had the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft. The Twins selected North Carolina shortstop Levi Michael. In his three years with the Tar Heels, he spent a season at each of three infield positions. Many scouting sources had Michael ranked higher than 30th, and the Twins needed middle infielders in the system. The pick made sense. Unfortunately, he missed the rest of that season with injury, and he has fought a variety of injuries throughout his career. He has spent parts of the last three seasons at AA. In 2016, he played in 95 games and hit just .215/.293/.291 (.584) and lost playing time as the season went on. He recently turned 26, and it would be nice to see him get some AAA time in 2017. TRAVIS HARRISON The Twins took Harrison with the 50th overall pick in 2011 out of high school in California. He quickly moved up one level each year until 2016 when he returned for a second season in AA Chattanooga. In 120 games, he hit .230 but had a .338 on-base percentage and a .339 slugging percentage. He had 22 doubles, seven homers and stole 15 bases. He has been in the outfield the last three seasons, though he has moved from left to right and back and forth a couple of times. No one questions Harrison’s work ethic, and anyone who has watched him knows that he has tremendous power potential and strength. He will still be just 24 years old through the 2017 season. DERECK RODRIGUEZ Dereck Rodriguez, as you know, is the son of recently-named Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez. The Twins drafted him in the sixth round in 2011 out of high school in Florida. They drafted him as a potential five-tool outfielder, but when he was unable to hit in the rookie leagues for three seasons, the decision was pretty easy to give him the option of pitching. He’s progressed slowly up the ladder as a pitcher. In 2015, he was the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year. He began 2016 really struggling in Cedar Rapids, but in the middle of June, he started pitching much better. He earned a promotion to Ft. Myers where he pitched well too. He pitched very well this winter in Puerto Rico and helped the team win the Caribbean Series. He now is part of Team Puerto Rico in the WBC. He’ll continue to start as the season begins, but the 24-year-old could be a solid bullpen arm. JASON WHEELER Wheeler is the one player on this list who has been on the Twins 40-man roster. Two years ago, he was added to the roster and went to spring training with the big club. He really struggled in 2015 and by season’s end, he was removed from the 40-man roster. After that point, he went on to lead the Chattanooga Lookouts to the 2015 Southern League championship (he was named MVP, won a game and recorded a four-inning save). 2016 was a very good year for Wheeler. He began in Chattanooga again, but he moved up to Rochester quickly. And, he put up terrific numbers, good enough to be named the starting pitcher for the International League team in the AAA All-Star game. The left-hander doesn’t throw real hard, but he is generally around the plate and uses his defense. The 26-year-old was the Twins eighth-round pick in 2011 out of Loyola Marymount. DAVID HURLBUT The Twins liked Hurlbut enough to draft him twice. He was the team’s 35th-round pick in 2009 out of junior college. Two years later, the Twins took him in the 28th round out of Cal State-Fullerton. He missed some time at the start of 2016 with a shoulder issue, but he pitched well once he got on the mound. He went 7-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 23 starts in AA. He finished the season with five starts in Rochester. The 27-year-old is a soft-throwing left-hander, occasionally touching 90, but he has pinpoint control and a good changeup. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Obviously all five of these guys are “prospects’ as they have yet to play in the big leagues. The two 24-year-olds are the two that would fit into the “prospect” category meaning there is still a lot of potential with them. It’s a big year for each of them. Not only are they working for a big league opportunity with the Twins, but they will have another season to be monitored by scouts and coaching staffs from the other 29 organizations too. So what are your hopes or expectations for these five? Will any of them get to the big leagues in 2017? Could any be found on the 40-man roster after the 2017 season?
  21. Players eligible to be on this list include players who remain eligible for Rookie of the Year voting in 2017. That is to say, hitters with less than 130 at-bats and pitchers with less than 50 innings. (The list is preliminary. Following research for the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2017 - which Cody Christie, Jeremy Nygaard and I are working on - I’ll provide my final Top 30 prospects list.) Top Prospects 41-50 #50 – Tyler Wells - 22 – RHP – Elizabethton Twins The Twins used their 15th round pick this June on the right-hander from Cal State-San Bernadino. There, he made 15 starts and was 4-7 despite a 2.84 ERA. He had 89 strikeouts in 92 innings. At 6-8 and about 265 pounds, he has the potential to be a hard-throwing, strikeout pitcher. Obviously he’s got a long ways to go to get there. He finished the season with 19.1 scoreless innings. In his penultimate start, he gave up just one hit over seven innings and struck out 14 batters. He makes this list as a guy worth watching. #49 – Taylor Clemensia - 19 – LHP – GCL Twins The young Amsterdam native played in the Dutch leagues for a couple of years. He was an outfielder, a very good athlete with a big arm. The Twins signed him and moved him to the mound. He had a solid debut in the GCL this year. He posted a 2.47 ERA in 11 games (43.2 innings). He showed the ability to miss bats, at times, and he fought with control ,at times. However, Clemensia is said to have a good feel for pitching despite the fact he’s still learning. #48 – Travis Harrison - 23 – OF - Chattanooga Lookouts Harrison was the 50th overall pick of the 2011 draft out of high school in California. He’s been around quite some time, but he still is just 23 years old. In 2016, he repeated the AA Southern League level. Unfortunately, it was a difficult season. His batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage all dipped. He moved from left field to right field in 2016. In mid-July, he was hit in the head with a pitch and missed about two weeks with a concussion. He hit just .191 in 37 more games for the rest of the season. He’s got a strong work ethic, and 2017 will be a big year as he could become a free agent at the end of the season. #47 – Michael Cederoth - 23 – RHP – Cedar Rapids Kernels Cederoth was the Twins 3rd round pick in 2014 out of San Diego State. He was tried as a starter that season and at the start of the 2015 season. After missing the second half of the 2015 season with an illness, he began 2016 on the DL with an oblique strain. Once he came back to the Kernels, he was very good. He went 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA. In 47.2 innings, he gave up 35 hits, walked 33 and struck out 62 batters. Cederoth throws real hard and now that he’s healthy, he could move up quickly in 2016. #46 – Williams Ramirez - 24 – RHP – Cedar Rapids Kernels Ramirez is already a little bit older, but he’s still worth watching. He signed at an older age and debuted in the DSL at age 20. He spent two seasons there transitioning from infielder to pitcher. He was our choice for Twins Daily short-season pitcher of the year in 2015 when he went 4-2 with a 1.14 ERA and 0.91 WHIp and 10.3 K/9 in the GCL last year. After starting the 2016 season in Extended Spring Training, but by mid-June, he was up with the Kernels. As Jake Mauer told me in late May, his first night game with the Kernels was the first time he had ever pitched under the lights. Ramirez is a max-effort pitcher who works in the mid-90s. He’s also got a very sharp slider. He’s likely going to be a bullpen arm at this point. #45 – Miguel De Jesus - 21 – RHP – GCL Twins/Elizabethton Twins De Jesus signed with the Twins in 2014 from the Dominican Republic. He pitched there in 2015 before coming to the States this year. He began in the GCL where he made seven starts and went 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA. In 35 innings, he walked 11 and struck out 34. He was moved up to Elizabethton where he went 0-2 in four starts with a 3.00 ERA. He turned 21 just last week. He sits 92-96 with a fastball that gets a lot of movement. At 6-2 and a wiry 175 pounds, he has room for growth. #44 – Yorman Landa - 22 – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle The Twins signed Landa as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela. He slowly works his way up the system, continuing to develop. He missed some time in 2014 and again in 2015 with a shoulder injury, but when he came back in the second half of 2015 in Cedar Rapids, he showed an upper-90s fastball with secondary pitches with big potential. Following the season, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. He moved up to Ft. Myers this year. He made the Florida State League All Star team and hit 100 mph with three pitches in his inning. He went on the DL in July with more shoulder issues. Injury has been the one thing that has held him back, and keeps him from being higher on this list, but when healthy, he has potential to be a terrific late-inning reliever. #43 – Dereck Rodriguez - 24 – RHP – Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle Rodriguez is the son of soon-to-be Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. The Twins drafted him in the 6th round of the 2011 draft as an outfielder. He spent three seasons in the rookie leagues trying to hit. Starting in 2014, he made the transition to the mound. In 2015, he was the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year in Elizabethton. He began the 2016 season in the Cedar Rapids rotation. Through his first nine starts, he was 1-7 with a 7.71 ERA. At that point, things started getting better. In his final nine starts with the Kernels, he went 3-4 with a 3.02 ERA and went at least six innings in each of those starts. He moved up to Ft. Myers where he went 1-2 but posted a 2.56 ERA. So while his overall numbers in 2016 don’t look great a deeper look shows that he started figuring things out over the final three months of the season. #42 – Aaron Whitefield - 20 – IF/OF – GCL Twins Signed out of Australia in the summer of 2015, Whitefield is an intriguing prospect. He hadn’t really played much baseball until shortly below that time. He had played for Team Australia in international softball competitions. However, he has great speed and some power potential. He can play all over the diamond. He was one of just a couple of GCL players who played nearly every day. He was the team’s leadoff hitter and hit .298/.370/.366 (.737) with seven doubles and two homers. He also stole 31 bases in 40 attempts. He was encouraged to run and had the green light. He played 1B and 3B and all three outfield positions. He just turned 20 at the start of September. #41 – Zander Wiel - 24 – 1B – Cedar Rapids Kernels Wiel was the Twins’ 12th round pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt. His debut summer was shortened when he was hit in the wrist with a pitch. He struggled early in 2016 in Cedar Rapids, but as Parker pointed out in a recent article, he made some adjustments and his numbers in the second half were terrific. In July, he posted a .310/.407/.660 (1.067) with nine doubles, a triple and eight home runs. He ended the season strong too. He had nine hits over his final four games including four home runs and 11 RBI. He ended the season with 86 RBI which led the Midwest League. The first baseman had 17 errors at first base during the season. So what do you think of Part 1, Prospects 41-50? Next up will be prospects 31-40.
  22. Let’s get right to it. Before we get to our Top 5 starting pitchers for the month of August, here is that extensive list of others who deserve to be recognized for a strong month. Actually, there are a ton of honorable mentions AND I had to do a Top 6 starters just to write more about another Twins starting pitching prospect. This is a good thing (even if it's more work!). HONORABLE MENTION Jordan Balazovic - GCL - 6 GS, 2-1, 2.33 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 27.0 IP, 25 H, 4 BB, 13 K Tyler Beardsley - Elizabethton/Cedar Rapids - 5 GS, 2-2, 2.57 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 28.0 IP, 22 H, 7 H, 17 K Miguel DeJesus - GCL/Elizabethton - 5 GS, 0-2, 2.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 16 H, 9 BB, 17 K Clark Beeker - Elizabethton - 6 G, 3 GS, 1-1, 1.52 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 23.2 IP, 15 H, 5 BB, 26 K Ryan Eades - Chattanooga - 6 G, 4 GS, 1-0, 2.22 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 24.1 IP, 22 H, 5 BB, 24 K Tyler Fox - GCL - 5 G, 4 GS, 1-0, 1.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 19 H, 6 BB, 15 K Nick Greenwood - Rochester - 5 GS, 3-1, 2.25 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 36.1 IP, 30 H 5 BB, 17 K Bo Hellquist - 6 G, 5 GS, 3-2, 2.43 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 29.2 IP, 26 H, 5 BB, 23 K Tyler Wells - 5 GS, 4-1, 2.57 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 28.0 IP, 20 H, 9 BB, 31 K Keaton Steele - 5 GS, 3-2, 1.91 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 33.0 IP, 28 H, 5 BB, 22 K Cody Stashak - 3 GS, 0.0, 0.54 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 16.2 IP, 13 H, 3 BB, 10 K THE TOP SIX STARTING PITCHERS #6 - Dereck Rodriguez - Ft. Myers - 5 GS, 2-2, 1.87 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 33.2 IP, 27 H, 3 BB, 18 K The first two months of the season were really tough for Rodriguez. He struggled to throw strikes and command the strike zone. He was hit often and hit hard. Then in early June, a switch flipped and he turned it on. Soon after, he was promoted to Ft. Myers and he's been very good there. He's been throwing a lot more strikes and hasn't been getting hit as hard. He's got a few fewer strikeouts, as you'd expect from a higher level, but his command is much improved. #5 - Lachlan Wells - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 3-0, 1.46 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 18 H, 8 BB, 20 K Signed out of Australia, Wells has moved quickly to start his career. A year ago, he debuted in the GCL and pitched well. He pitched for Australia in the World Cup at the end of last season. He began this season in extended spring training but before the Elizabethton season started, he was moved up to the Kernels. He has been terrific since. He continues to grow. The left-hander stands 6-1 and 186 pounds but he still has room to grow. In 12 starts with the Kernels, Wells (19) is 6-4 with a 1.77 ERA. #4 - Eduardo Del Rosario - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 3-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 26.2 IP, 21 H, 7 BB, 34 K Like Wells, Eduardo Del Rosario began the season in extended spring training after a solid 2015 in the Gulf Coast League. He was promoted in June to the Kernels and really struggled early, but he appears to be figuring some things out. As you can see from the numbers, he had a terrific month of August. Del Rosario is a wiry sort. He is 6-0 and about 160 pounds. Overall, the 21-year-old is 6-3 with a 3.65 ERA in 15 Kernels starts. #3 - Fernando Romero - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 2-1, 1.16 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 23.1 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 29 K Like Wells and Del Rosario, Romero began the season in EST. However, he was there because he had missed the two previous seasons with Tommy John surgery and a knee surgery. He was called up to Cedar Rapids in mid-May. He made only a handful of starts before moving up to the Miracle where he didn't miss a beat. He's young and has very few innings above the Gulf Coast League, but he has the stuff of a true ace, something Twins fans have been longing for. He continued his strong showing in August, right up until he was shut down with about two or three starts to go after hitting his predetermined innings limit. After posting a 1.93 ERA in five Kernels starts, he ended his time with the Miracle with a 1.88 ERA in 11 starts. #2 - Brady Anderson - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 3-0, 1.24 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 29.0 IP, 25 H, 6 BB, 17 K Anderson reported to EST after signing with the Twins as a non-drafted free agent out of Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers. Likely signed to fill innings in the GCL, Anderson dominated that league. When the Kernels needed a starter in early August, they didn't turn to an Elizabethton starter. Instead, Anderson skipped the Appy League and went into the Kernels rotation. He gave up three runs in five innings in his first outing. Over his final four outings (24 innings), he gave up just one run. Non-drafted signees are typically just happy for an opportunity. However, once given that opportunity, Anderson has fully taken advantage of it. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is... Chattanooga – LHP Stephen Gonsalves - 5 GS, 3-2, 0.28 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 34.2 IP, 25 H, 8 BB, 38 K Gonsalves (22) is the veteran of this group of Top 5 starters. He was solid in Ft. Myers to start this season (5-4, 2.33 ERA), but after one rough outing with the Lookouts - his second with the team - he has dominated Southern League hitters. In his first August outing, he threw six innings with no earned runs. Then he threw a complete game shutout. The next two starts he threw six shutout innings. In once start, he held a no-hitter through six innings. Aside from a game with a bunch of walks, Gonsalves has figured out a way to get hitters out. In the offseason, he added to his pitch repertoire with a slider/cutter pitch. He said it has been a huge strikeout pitch for him, especially against left-handers. Gonsalves has eaten a lot of innings, though the occasional control issues have kept him from pitching more. He has struck out more in AA than he did in Ft. Myers. With the Lookouts, he went 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA. In August, Gonsalves allowed hitters to bat just .125/.227/.144 (.371) against him. During the month, he gave up just two extra-base hits, both doubles. He’s also allowed just one home run during his time with the Lookouts as well, and three all season. Gonsalves has just continued to improve as he has moved up the Twins system. That's what I like to see, certainly what he would like to see, and most important, it's what the front office hopes to see as well. There is a decent chance that Gonsalves will be the organization's #1 prospect heading into the 2017 season. There is a good chance that we will see him in big league spring training, and there is a strong chance that we will see him in a Twins uniform, making starts, sometime during the 2017 season. The Twins have one more spot available for them for the Arizona Fall League. Don't be surprised if that pitcher is Gonsalves. There were so many strong starting pitching performances in August, but the choice of Stephen Gonsalves was very easy. Feel free to discuss below. Feel free to agree or disagree with the order, if you like as I went back and forth many times, but congratulations these individuals on a terrific month.
  23. If you’re looking for the brightest stars shining in the system, Stephen Gonsalves (1.97 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.9 K/9) and Fernando Romero (1.89 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) are having as good of seasons as anyone in the entire minor leagues. But there has been and will be plenty of coverage about those two as they rocket their way up the Twins prospect rankings. Digging a bit deeper, you can find a few less heralded pitchers who have really put things together over the past couple of months. Unlike Gonsalves and Romero, these guys aren’t going to be in the running for pitcher of the year awards or sit atop any prospect lists, but what they’re doing shouldn’t be ignored. Here is a list of one pitcher from each of the Twins’ top four affiliates who has turned things up as the minor league season is winding down. Rochester: D.J. Baxendale Baxendale began the season in the Chattanooga Lookouts’ rotation and pitched well enough to be named a midseason Southern League All-Star. He had a 3.44 ERA and displayed excellent control (1.8 BB/9), which has been his calling card throughout his professional career. That performance earned him a promotion, but it wasn’t to the Rochester rotation. Along with a new team, Baxendale shifted to a new role out in the bullpen. After averaging 6.6 K/9 as a starter in Double A, the Arkansas product is now averaging over a strikeout per inning out of the Rochester pen. Over 30.1 innings with the Red Wings, Baxendale has a 1.19 ERA and 34 strikeouts. He’s pitched at least two innings in seven of his 22 appearances. A former 10th-round pick, the 25-year-old Baxendale has never been viewed as much of a prospect, but the way he’s pitched at the highest level of the minor leagues has to have captured the attention of the front office. With a new regime expected to take over, however, it’s anyone’s guess whether Baxendale will remain in relief or go back to starting next season. Chattanooga: Ryan Eades Eades’ totals for the year don’t look like much to get excited about, but since returning to the Lookouts’ rotation, he has been on a nice roll. The former second-round pick was bumped to the bullpen in early July and saw his ERA balloon to 5.13 in the middle of that month. He smoothed things out and managed to get back into the rotation on Aug. 14, partially due to performance but luck also played a big role. While he may not have technically earned his way back into the rotation, he’s certainly pitched like he intends to stay there since. Maybe being sent to the pen was a wake-up call, maybe he learned some things out there, maybe it’s as simple as he has a fresh arm ... whatever it is Eades has looked like a different pitcher. Over four starts, the LSU product has a 2.42 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and four times as many strikeouts (20) than walks (5). His 8.1 K/9 over that period is a nice increase over his career mark of 6.6. Eades hasn’t lived up to his impressive college resume or $1.3 million bonus up to this point, and this could just be him getting hot over a small sample, but I wonder if we are seeing his turning point. Fort Myers: Dereck Rodriguez Rodriguez started the year in Cedar Rapids and got off to a rough start. Coming off a season in which he was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year, Rodriguez looked lost, pitching to a 7.71 ERA through June 2. From there he really turned things around. The Twins took notice and quickly bumped him up to Fort Myers. The 24-year-old has carried that momentum over, and through four starts in the Florida State League has a 2.36 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over 26.2 innings. He isn’t posting as many strikeouts since the promotion (just 5.1 K/9), but he has issued just two walks. That’s not two walks as in per nine rate, that’s two walks as in total. While the FSL is a notorious pitcher’s haven, that kind of control is impressive no matter the setting. Since hitting that low point in early June, Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in all 13 of his starts. That’s an especially impressive feat considering this is just his second season as a starting pitcher and third overall since being converted from the outfield. Cedar Rapids: Eduardo Del Rosario Much like Rodriguez, Del Rosario’s 2016 got off to a rotten start. His season started in June, but the lanky 21-year-old didn’t really get rolling until the start of July. Here’s a breakdown his numbers by month. June: 6.58 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 5.2 K/9 July: 2.83 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9.4 K/9 Aug.: 1.69 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 11.5 K/9 Del Rosario has pitched out of his mind over his last eight starts in particular, tallying a total of 58 K's against just 14 walks over that stretch of 44.2 innings. He is far and away the most intriguing prospect on this list, but it’s important that Del Rosario keeps logging innings and developing his body before he really shoots his way up the rankings. Regardless, he has definitely established himself as a guy to keep an eye on. Aside from Berrios and Chargois, there has been plenty of frustration over the lack of progress from other highly-touted prospects like Tyler Jay, Kohl Stewart, Nick Burdi and the handful of other relievers the Twins took with high draft picks. But luckily in baseball hope springs eternal. All those guys will get another shot to break out next year. But in the meantime, Gonsalves and Romero are reason enough to be excited and there are plenty of under-the-radar guys beyond the four listed above taking big steps forward right before our eyes.
  24. With that, let’s get to the Minor League Report for Saturday. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester, Scranton/Wilkes Barre Box Score This game was rained out. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Birmingham 3 Box Score Kohl Stewart struggled with control again, and fell to 6-6 with a 3.25 ERA with the loss. The right-hander gave up three runs on four hits and five walks in 4.2 innings on the mound. He also hit two batters. He struck out three. Alan Busenitz came into the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth and allowed two of the three runners to core. He gave up two hits and struck out one in 1.1 innings. Mason Melotakis struck out three in a scoreless seventh inning. Raul Fernandez worked a perfect eight inning. The Lookouts managed just five hits in the game. Ryan Walker hit his third triple. Jairo Rodriguez hit his first double. Zach Granite had a single and added to his league-leading stolen base total with this 41st steal. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 7, Charlotte 1 Box Score It’s hard to remember that Dereck Rodriguez had a 7.71 ERA through his first seven starts in Cedar Rapids. Over his final nine starts in Iowa, he posted a 3.02 ERA. After throwing 6.2 innings of one-run ball on Saturday night, Rodriguez has a 1.98 ERA through his first two starts with the Miracle. He earned his first Florida State League win. The right-hander gave up four hits, walked none and struck out seven in this game. Todd Van Steensel gave up a single before he got the final out of the seventh inning. He then threw a perfect eighth frame. Nick Anderson struck out two in a one-hit, scoreless ninth. The Miracle scored seven runs despite having just four hits in the game. They were assisted by ten walks. Infielder Chris Ibarra went 2-4 with a walk and his first Florida State League double, well, and his first Florida State League single, his first two hits since joining the Miracle last week. Joe Maloney and Tanner English each walked twice. AJ Murray and Daniel Kihle both had a walk and went 1-3. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Kane County 1 Box Score Through six innings, the game was tied at one. However, the Kernels scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to take the lead. They added two insurance runs in the ninth to complete their seventh straight win over Kane County this season. Lachlan Wells started the game with five scoreless innings. He gave up an unearned run in the sixth, but that was it. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out five to improve to 4-3 with a 2.36 ERA. Max Cordy gave up a hit and walked two, but he didn’t give up a run in his inning. Tom Hackimer worked the final two innings without allowing a run for his third save. Sean Miller had hits in his first three at bats. His sacrifice fly in the seventh inning gave the Kernels a lead they didn’t relinquish. He ended the game 3-4 with two RBI. Luis Arraez with another multi-hit game. He weas 3-5. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 6, Bluefield 9 Box Score It was a rough game for the Twins pitching and defense in this one. Five errors certainly didn’t help the cause. Jose Martinez gave up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and three walks in five innings. He struck out three. Alex Robinson came on and gave up a run on one hit, three walks and a hit batter over two innings. Johan Quezada walked a batter and hit a batter in a one-run eighth inning. Alex Kiriloff went 2-5 and hit his sixth home run. Ariel Montesino went 3-5. Shane Carrier went 2-5. Lewin Diaz added his 13th double. For Bluefield, Vlad Guerrero, Jr. went 3-5, his second straight three-hit game. The 17-year-old is hitting .277 on the season. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 6, GCL Red Sox 1 Box Score For the second straight day, the Twins topped the Red Sox. Huascar Ynoa set the tone with another strong start. The right-hander gave up one run over five innings. He surrendered four hits, walked one and struck out six. He improved to 3-4 and dropped his ERA to 2.13. Matz Schutte allowed two hits over 1.1 scoreless innings. Zach Strecker struck out three over 2.2 perfect innings to record his fourth save. The Twins had nice offensive performances from several players on Saturday. Zach Featherstone went 2-3. He was hit by a pitch and hit his third and fourth homers. Aaron Whitefield went 2-4 with a walk, his fifth double and his 25th stolen base. Akil Baddoo went 1-2 with two walks and his second home run. Lean Marrero hit his second double. Dane Hutcheon walked three times and stole his fourth base. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Akil Baddoo/Zach Featherstone, GCL Twins SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (12:35 CST) (doubleheader) - LHP David Hurlbut and RHP Omar Bencomo Chattanooga @ Birmingham (6:30 CST) - RHP Ryan Eades Charlotte @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) - RHP Keaton Steele Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (6:30 CST) – RHP Tyler Beardsley Elizabethton @ Bluefield (6:05 CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday's games.
  25. Continue reading to find out more detail about Sunday in the Twins farm system: RED WINGS REPORT Rochester @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs Box Score Byung Ho Park had another rough day, 0-4 with a strikeout, as the Red Wings were rocked by the IronPigs. Buck Britton led the offensive charge, 2-4 with a double and a run scored. The pitching staff didn't fare much better, as starter Jason Wheeler gave up four earned runs over 6.0 innings. He gave up eight hits, walked four, struck out one and gave up a home run. Alex Wimmers had a terrible relief stint, managing just 0.2 innings, giving up five runs (three earned), via five hits. Sean Burnett finished the inning, striking out the only batter he faced. Neil Ramirez gave up a run in the bottom of the eighth to finish the game. Final: Red Wings 1, IronPigs 10 LOOKOUTS LOOK-IN Jacksonville Suns @ Chattanooga Box Score More Omar Bencomo, more of the time! Bencomo gave the Suns fits over 7.0 innings. Bencomo gave up just two hits. He walked one and struck out five. Raul Fernandez and Ryan Eades each gave the Lookouts an inning of scoreless relief to complete a 3-hit shutout. The Lookouts only tallied six hits of their own, but two of them were doubles, and two more of them went over the fence, so that was plenty. Ryan Walker led the way with a 2-3 game, with a double, a home run, two runs scored, two RBIs, and a walk. Nike Goodrum had a two-run dinger as part of his 1-4 night. Zach Granite had a nice night as well, 2-4 with a double and a run scored. Final: Suns 0, Lookouts 4 MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers @ Charlotte Stone Crabs Box Score Fort Myers only gave up one hit, but they gave up TWO runs! To make matters worse, they managed only three hits of their own, scoring just one run, in a tough loss. Dereck Rodriguez was tagged with the loss in his Fort Myers debut, despite 7.0 innings of one-hit ball. He gave up two runs, walked two and struck out six. Cam Booser added a clean inning of relief, sending the Stone Crabs down 1-2-3. Tough night with the sticks for the Miracle, who teamed up for seven strikeouts, two walks, and those same three hits. The Miracle scored their lone run on a solo home run from Chris Paul (1-4). Final: Miracle 1, Stone Crabs 2 KERNELS KORNER Peoria Chiefs @ Cedar Rapids Box Score The Chiefs put up three runs in the top of the first against Tyler Beardsley, and then had just one more hit the rest of the night. Beardsley pitched 5.0 innings, gave up three hits, three runs, walked four and struck out one. He was replaced by Williams Ramirez, who had a spectacular relief outing, going three full innings giving up just one hit. Max Cordy pitched the bottom of the ninth. He was a little rocky, walking two batters, but struck out two and kept the Chiefs off the board. Leadoff man Christian Ibarra led the way for the Kernels, he was 2-4 with a solo home run. Luis Arraez and Casey Scoggins each added two hits of their own. Final: Chiefs 3, Kernels 2 E-TWINS E-NOTES Danville Braves @ Elizabethton Postponed, rain. Will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Monday. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day - Ryan Walker - Chattanooga Pitcher of the Day - Omar Bencomo - Chattanooga MONDAY'S PROBABLES Rochester - OFF Chattanooga - David Hurlbut (7-6, 3.62) Fort Myers - Keaton Steele (5-9, 4.21) Cedar Rapids - Sam Gibbons (5-3, 5.00) E-Twins - Game 1 - Jose Martinez (1-3, 7.36) E-Twins - Game 2 - TBD GCL Twins - TBD DSL Twins - TBD Please ask questions and discuss the Sunday games. -ERolf
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